It was a mission for me to get to Maranatha. Nevertheless, I found my way onto a campus that felt like an oasis; one of the most peaceful and beautiful high school campuses I have ever seen.
Got to talking with Coach Joel Murphy, in his third season as head coach, and he’s looking for good things from his quarterback Matt Shields. The line is young but they have a good group I feel will compete with Brentwood in the Alpha League.
One interesting thing I noticed as I walked up to the coach’s office:
The entire football team stays in a dorm-style building for one week. The team checked in Sunday night and will pack for home on Saturday after the 10:30 a.m. inter-squad scrimmage and of course, a BBQ (by the way, I’m not doing anything that afternoon in case .. you know .. wanna send an invite … ha ha, j/k).
In the meantime, the players get an opportunity to bond with a week’s worth of each other. Football teams often are referred to as a family and in almost all cases it is another family. But Maranatha found a way to take it to the extreme, which is a great thing for the school, the team, players and family.
Coach Murphy is fortunate to have the parent support who take care of the breakfast (from pancakes) to lunch (double-doubles from In-N-Out) to dinner (pasta?). Parents bring breakfast at around 6 a.m. The large room is littered with mattresses and inflatable beds and of course TV’s spread around the room hooked with PlayStations playing Madden and Halo.
Another cool thing is that there are no cell phones or internet access during the one-week stay. Every little detail, from practice time to shower and sleeping time, is scheduled by the coaching staff who also stay with the team, of course.
I would have loved something like this when I was in school. Being a student at Maranatha alone is quite an adventure, studying and mingling with friends at a picturesque campus. The school has come a long way from when it was bouncing around from building to building just a few years ago.
The football field is impressive. When the lights come one Friday I can’t imagine the electric atmosphere that’ll spread throughout. The same dingy football field from a few years ago now is a perfect synthetic field with a working scoreboard.
I wonder if there are any other schools that do something similar to what Maranatha does, staying together for a week on or near campus.