VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - While many spend the weekend enjoying the beaches of Virginia Beach for the first time in months, local football players continue to utilize the beach just as they have all pandemic long.
When fitness facilities shut down in March because of COVID-19, Giavanni Ruffin, owner of Take No Days Off Gym, moved some of his training sessions to the beach. He trains countless high school football players and college athletes who are from the 757.
"I've actually seen more guys step up this time than any other time," Ruffin said about the dedication he's seen from his athletes during the pandemic. "I think it's starting to make people realize that the things we take for granted in life somebody else is praying for."
When you look around during his college sessions you'll see representation from a handful of college football teams. As you could imagine, the college rivalries lead to some friendly trash talk.
“Makes you feel like you’re at school still," Virginia Tech defensive back Armani Chatman said. "Just gets the guys going because sometimes it’s hard to get working out here, so just a little trash talk gets everybody going.”
“It makes everybody compete real hard against each other,"James Madison safety Ricky Harleston said. "On the field everybody trash talks, so it’s just readying us for the season.”
One of Ruffin's biggest messages to his college athletes is the importance of not slacking off during the pandemic, which becomes easy to do when fitness facilities are closed.
“I let them know all the time, why you waiting while somebody else doing something," Ruffin said. "Don't take this time to rest and chill, let’s make sure we stay ahead of the game so when we go back to school you won’t be one of those guys that wasn’t working.”
“Right now we're young players, so it's time to get ahead while everybody's relaxing,” Old Dominion wide receiver Noah Spencer said. "We always want to work hard."