Dec. 27, 2012
SHREVEPORT, La. – As Ohio’s trip to the 2012 Advocare V100 Independence Bowl winds down, senior tight end Jordan Thompson (Rockford, Ohio) continues to provide a detailed account of Ohio Football’s fourth straight bowl trip. To experience a bowl trip through the perspective of an Ohio student-athlete, read Jordan’s third entry below.
Day Three: Wednesday, December 26
Hi Bobcat Fans!
Today was a very eventful day here in Shreveport. Our morning got started bright and early with breakfast at eight o’clock. Between getting a bite to eat and everyone getting their ankles tapped for practice, guys were moving with a sense of urgency this morning. Coach Solich requires every player to either wear ankle braces or get their ankles taped for every practice. This is done in an effort to eliminate sprained ankles during our practices and games. The athletic training staff does a great job getting all 100+ players taped and ready to go for practice. The trainers have a thankless job, as many of their work is never really seen by the fans, but our players are really appreciative of the care they give us. Outside our teammates and coaching staff, I would say we spend more time with the athletic trainers than any other team personnel. It is fun to see the working relationship grow between players and trainers throughout the years, as we really do spend a lot of time with each other icing the bumps and bruises that come with the sport.
Today was our first day going to Independence Stadium, as yesterday’s practice was held indoors due to the inclement weather. It is always nice getting to the stadium in the days leading up to games, as each facility is different. Taking some time to get accustomed to the surroundings and the different backgrounds allows a player to better prepare and visualize for what can be expected on game day in regards to the overall atmosphere.
As our team took the field for practice, we were quickly reminded that although we are in the south, it is still wintertime. We were met with temperatures in the 30s and a strong wind swirling throughout the stadium. Once practice got underway, our guys moved around the field well and were really dialed in. Independence Stadium will be a great place to play on Friday, as while the turf has recently been replaced and the stadium has been renovated, it still has been able to retain the ‘old time stadium’ feel since its opening in 1925.
After practice wrapped up around 11:30, the players were given the afternoon off to enjoy however they wished. A majority of the guys—including myself—headed across the river into the city of Bossier. Right along the eastern bank of the Red River sits the Louisiana Boardwalk, which is an outdoor mall that has a nice variety of shopping options to choose from. Brass Pro Shop’s Outdoor World and the Nike Outlet store seemed to be a hit with many of the guys seeking after Christmas sales. By the looks of things on the way back to the hotel, the guys didn’t have any trouble finding deals as many of them were carrying multiple shopping bags. After spending the afternoon leisurely strolling around the boardwalk, I had time to come back to the hotel and catch a quick nap before heading out for our evening event.
Tonight both teams headed to the Riverview Ballroom to partake in the Big Game Show. After being served a delicious meal consisting of southern style BBQ ribs, smoked turkey and peach cobbler, it was time to put our knowledge to the test. The Big Game Show took place in a theatre setting, where fans from both teams gathered to cheer on their school’s players. The show consisted of five rounds, with each round mimicking a popular television show such as Jeopardy, Family Feud, and basic trivia. Each round, several players from both teams competed on stage in front of the audience. This was a fun and entertaining night, with lots of laughs and good friendly competition amongst the two teams. In the end, your Ohio Bobcats did not disappoint, as we were able to win four of the five rounds.
After the Big Game Show everyone came back to the hotel and players had some free time to choose their own activities for the rest of the evening. The nice thing about bowl week is that we are able to really get a feel for the city where we play. During the regular season we arrive the afternoon before the game, and go home after the game with no time to explore. Being able to really take in the Shreveport area has been fun. Witnessing firsthand the “southern hospitality” around here has been awesome. Everywhere we go, Shreveport natives have been going out of their way to welcome us to their city and wish us luck in Friday’s game.
Each day I see more and more Bobcat fans roaming the streets. That is a good sign, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the game on Friday. Go Bobcats!