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Team Returns from Summer Camp

Posted Friday, August 27, 2010 by SachemPatch.com

Sachem Football Team Back from Upstate


For years, Sachem football teams have traveled upstate for a week to bond, to work on plays and formations and to just be a team. The football programs on Long Island that miss the boat and don't travel somewhere - financial reasons aside - are missing out.

Sachem football camp wouldn't have half the lure that it does if not for the famed "Misery Mountain," an addition to the Fresh Air Fund Camp at Camp Hidden Valley in Fishkill that was added in 1991. 

"After our morning workout I told the kids to take their shoulder pads off, get down to your girdles and tee-shirts and run that hill," said former Sachem coach Fred Fusaro. "We took a truck up to the hill to get there and the other coaches didn't even know where we were going. We did 10 of them at first. We were doing them in the morning and the afternoon and it was just an a-- kicker."

Joe Zayzycki, a former Sachem player and coach and an English teacher at North, wrote an article in the Sachem Harbinger - the school paper up until the split in 2004 - describing the team's feeling towards the hill.

"Unless you were there, you can't even begin to imagine the feeling because it's almost impossible to describe," he wrote. "It was the feeling in our legs that wouldn't stop shaking combined with the feeling of great accomplishment."

By the late 1990's, teams were regularly running 100 hills during the week of camp, equaling about 12-15 40-yard uphill battles each day. It began to take up too much time and was cut drastically after that. It's still a part of the program to this day.

"It's a great team builder," said North head coach Dave Falco. "It's great for conditioning and makes the players feel like they're achieving something big."

Falco has also added "Champion Run," which is a mile uphill run that ends at an overlook of the valley.

The football program builds up to the moment of camp each year, waiting anxiously to rid themselves of the Island and the generic confines of their normal habitat. For a week, they are a team at camp, growing as one.

Chris R. Vaccaro is the editor of Sachem Patch, regional sports editor of Patch.com's Long Island editorial operations and a proud graduate of Sachem High School. He is the author of "Sachem High School Football: The History of the Flaming Arrows.

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