Pulling into the Third Street Parking Lot at 6:30 A.M., I struggle with even the simplest task of blinking without falling back asleep. My eyes adjust to the glare of the streetlights and looming sunrise against the twilight sky as I stumble out of the dim, heated cave of my car.
Before me lies the Marlborough School ghost-town: barren halls absent of the buzz of the school day, sleep-deprived teenage girls walking in a half-conscious daze, and muffled whispers from the rare student alert enough to string together a subject and a verb. A few teachers wander the campus, some fumbling in frustration with their ties, others ducking in and out of the lounge with their coffee mugs in tow.
Shivering student-athletes slog toward their J Period conditioning sessions as the cool wind whips at our faces, slapping us awake. Other than the grumbles of our empty stomachs, the School is hauntingly silent. Our hearts race at the sudden bang of a car door slamming shut.
Slumber threatens to engulf us once more if not for the smell of breakfast burritos and wet grass as reminders that we are no longer dreaming. The moment we dare to dream that practice is canceled, that we can submit to our body’s desperate ache for sleep, a whistle unbelievably, yet unmistakably, rings in our ears, piercing the once serene air. Over exasperated groans, our coach yells, “Time to warm-up!”
And so our day begins.