Am I in better shape than Albert Haynesworth?
That’s the question I asked, and answered, late Monday night, armed only with workout clothes, my phone and a pouch of Gatorade … or is it G?
No matter. I wasn’t concerned with letters, only numbers — 70 and 73, to be precise.
Haynesworth is the much-maligned lineman for the Washington Redskins. He’s been maligned because he’s failed numerous conditioning tests this preseason, just 18 months after signing a seven-year, $100 million contract.
The test that’s drawn the most attention is the shuttle run. It’s a 300-yard test, with multiple runs. Sprint 25 yards up the field, then 25 yards back to the starting point and you’ve completed a shuttle. Complete six shuttles, for a total of 300 yards. Rest for 3:30, then run it again. A lineman like Haynesworth passes the test if he completes the first shuttle in less than 70 seconds and the second in less than 73 seconds.
While waiting for the Clovis Wildcats to finish up their practice, I did a rudimentary shuttle by walking up and down the sidelines. My walking shuttle time was 2:23.5, which roughly meant I needed to run twice as fast to succeed.
I decided I’d come back to Leon Williams Stadium after my shift at work and run it, using my phone’s stopwatch feature.
I asked Clovis defensive coordinator Darren Kelley what my chances were. He figured I had a chance to break 70, because his son’s a fifth-grader, and he can do a shuttle in about 62 seconds. He said it would be harder if his son was a 350-pound lineman like Haynesworth, “but if you’re getting paid a billion dollars…”
Just for the record, I’m not a member of the, “If I had $100 million like Haynesworth, I’d show up 10 minutes early and outwork everybody” camp. I’m more of a member of the, “The only thing you get by giving an unmotivated man $100 million is a rich unmotivated man” camp.
Haynesworth has, to be exact, 7 inches and 114 pounds on me. But I haven’t been accustomed to an NFL regimen, and my exercise over the last week was limited to two hours of Ultimate Frisbee on Thursday night. So let’s pretend things are about even.
So I ventured to Leon Williams, placed myself at the 25, and hit, “Start.” I flew down the first shuttle, the same with the second. The third, not so much. By the time I reached the sixth, I wasn’t walking, but I was closer to that than double my pace from earlier that evening. I touched the finish line and read 78 seconds.
I believe in doing things to completion, especially when a column depends on it. I rested the 3:30, and felt like I had the wind back in me. And I did for shuttle No. 1. By the time I completed the next five, however, the stopwatch read 93 seconds.
Lesson: I simulated an NFL test, and proved I’m not an NFL athlete, not even an NFL lineman … and I’m guessing $100 million wouldn’t change that. But if you can help simulate that part of the test, I read every e-mail and listen to every voicemail.