Chicago Public League high school football teams were barred from the field during last week's teachers strike, but that didn't stop most players from getting some practice in.
Although coaches were not allowed to participate and students did not have access to their gear or facilities, captains organized independent work out sessions for their teams at schools across the city.
John Byrne, Athletic Director at Wendall Phillips Academy High School, said his team's commitment to practicing on their own was a testament to the accountability and drive that the game has taught them. Byrne was driving by the school last week when he saw at least forty players running non-contact plays and other drills their coaches had taught them.
While the students think the extra time off made the team stronger, there are ramifications. The games missed during the strike need to be made up, but time and facilities are limited before playoffs are scheduled to begin.
CPS says some teams in the lower conferences, who probably won't make the playoffs anyway, won't get to play a full nine game season. The charter schools not affected by the strike will play their full schedule. Mr. Byrne says this gives them an inherent advantage that CPS cannot regain.
Another concern for some students was how the strike would affect their chances to show their stuff to college recruiters. One student, reacted by posting a profane screed on on "The Chicago Public Sports Blog."
While it is generally agreed upon that that players who are likely to go to Division I schools have already made their good impressions, students who are on the brink of winning scholarships to less competitive programs often rely on being seen by recruiters who attend play off games.