Field of Steam

FieldTurf is the surface that a lot of high schools have installed on their athletic fields. FieldTurf is also a bed of tiny scorching pebbles when it's 95 degrees out. Do you know how I know? It's because I spend a good amount of Monterey Trail's football practice laying on it.

Practice is all about repetition and while the players try to repeat their awesome technique play after play after play, I try to photograph something a little bit different practice after practice after practice. Sometimes I'm successful and pleased with my variety, but sometimes I also end up taking the same photograph that I did two practices ago. The moral of the story is...there is no moral. I just wanted you to know that I roll around on that burning cookie sheet of a field so you won't be bored when you visit blog.michaelstarghill.com.

Shout out to competition among teammates. You could lose your starting job on Tuesday afternoon but earn it right back on Thursday before the game at the end of the week.


Full Pads, Heat and Terrible Light

Last Wednesday marked the first day of full pads and hard hitting practice just south of Sacramento in Elk Grove, CA. The forest green and gold of Monterey Trail drilled, blocked, hit and ran with one goal in mind...winning games. The Mustang offense and defense is geared around hitting and hard work. The last man standing wins.

But I think I might need to talk to the coach about those 130p practice times. The high sun might be great for conditioning but the light contrast...not so good. Shout out to high school athletes. Six times a week these kids are running, lifting, hitting and practicing. I wonder if I could get through just a week.

Monterey Trail FootballMonterey Trail Football
Monterey Trail Football
Monterey Trail Football
Monterey Trail Football
Monterey Trail Football
Monterey Trail Football
Monterey Trail Football
Monterey Trail Football
Monterey Trail Football


We've got helmets.

Football season arrives in steps but the training is pretty much a year round effort. Monday marked the end of the "dead period" here in California where high school teams aren't allowed to practice with footballs or equipment. Up until this point, it's just been a whole lot of weight lifting and conditioning. Fun, I know.

The players spent the first 1.5-2 hours cycling through lifting stations before they hit the convection oven of a turf field to finish up the last two hours of practice. Good thing my mom wouldn't let me play football!


In with the new...Monterey Trail Mustangs

The move to Sacramento also brought the inevitable search for a new high school football program to embed myself in. And I'm happy to announce that the search is over. My third team in as many years, which also has me feeling like Randy Moss, is the Monterey Trail Mustangs of Monterey Trail high school in Elk Grove, California.

The program, only established in 2004, is fairly new but is infused with heart and discipline led by Coach TJ Ewing. The kids work hard and I'm looking forward to a great season. It's all about the forest green and gold now.

Shouts to Coach Jason Lane who made it all possible in 2006 when he gave me the green light to shoot the orange team.