KINGMAN - The Kingman High Bulldogs football team is way ahead of last year in terms of learned schemes, work in the weight room and conditioning, according to KHS football coach Greg Tonjes.
That's excellent news for a squad coming off a 0-11 season. However, getting on the field wasn't necessarily the Bulldogs' focus during camp that ended last Friday before the start of regular-season practices Monday.
"I couldn't have cared less had we not been on the field at all," Tonjes said. "This camp was about other people."
The coach wanted to be sure his players understood that for the team to be successful on the field, they had to put others first.
"This group is special, and the key has been selflessness," he said. "They're learning that it's not about caring about yourself, but caring about your teammates, your school and the city you're representing."
The Bulldogs went about acts of selflessness when they visited The Gardens Rehab and Care Center during their camp time on July 22. The players talked, played games and went on walks with the patients.
"This was the best way to show the players selflessness," the coach said. "Inevitably, acts like this end up helping us more. We go in thinking we're going to help the patients. The reality is they impacted us by hitting our hearts and motivating us to change."
The Kingman boys and coaching staff were so struck by their experiences that the Bulldogs have decided to adopt the center for the upcoming season. Kingman will go back to the Gardens for six visits - five coming before home games and the other when the Bulldogs remain in town to face Lee Williams High.
Regular-season practices are scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Monday for the Bulldogs.