The night of October 25th, when the Lakewood football team beat Tarpon Springs to clinch the district title, their team bus was 45 minutes late to the game.
The Spartans had to rush through warm-ups, take a collective deep breath, exhale, and play.
It was not an ideal way to start a big game.
But then, on Lakewood's opening drive, Donterrio Fowler nailed an 84-yard touchdown run. Lakewood went on to beat Tarpon by 25 points.
So what gave the Spartans the edge? How did they pull off such a big win with such a rushed start?
They credit yoga.
Yoga?! That was the players' reaction when head coach Cory Moore introduced it.
"They thought it was something kind of girly -- 'why do we have to do this kind of feminine thing?' Then they realized yoga is a beast," Coach Moore laughed.
A beast that makes a big difference. The Spartans enjoy a variety of benefits on the field: better balance, no more hamstring or shoulder injuries, fewer penalties -- thanks to sharper mental focus.
Off the field, the team's collective grade point average has gone up.
Players excel with relaxed minds, and flexible, relaxed bodies. Yoga has now become a Thursday tradition at Lakewood.
"We love yoga. You know, it relaxes the body, especially after a long week of practice, muscles are tight and sore. It just helps us relax before the game," according to senior linebacker Aaron Graham.
Donterrio Fowler enjoys it too.
"Oh, yoga is great. It relaxes our body and, just nap time, we love nap time," he says.
Nap time comes at the end of Thursday yoga. Then, on Friday, it's game time.
Lakewood hosts Tarpon Springs in the 2nd round of the playoffs.
No bus ride this time for the Spartans, but we know they still got their yoga session in. Lakewood hopes their final "pose" of the season will be a team picture with the state championship trophy.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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