"We did 20 100's on a minute-thirty" she says of a segment of their late practice. "And I swam 1:03's."
I know this makes her proud. She's not injured, is she?
"No, I just can't raise my arms."
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday they swim for two hours and lift weights for an hour. On Tuesday and Thursday they lift for an hour at 6 a.m., then swim for an hour, then swim for two more hours in the afternoon. On Saturday they lift from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m., then swim for two hours.
What time do you get up for the 6 a.m. practices? I ask.
"Five-forty," she says. When do you sleep? I ask.
"Oh, you know, twice a day. Like two naps."
Not long ago I asked Cary and Lauren's Arizona State pal Florence how quickly she could fall asleep, at any time of night or day. "Oh, 30 seconds, tops," she said. "Probably less."
The players have this habit of being distracted. I am terrified for all of them, with their skinny necks and fuzzless faces, being led from childhood into this violent vortex-is there any need at all for prepubescent kids to play tackle football?—and yet I think they should at least pay attention when I talk.
Just two days ago, after our gung ho, young and impassioned head coach had orchestrated a tackling drill, about which he rhapsodized in a way that reminded me of the ways I had heard NFL linebackers such as Mike Singletary and Dick Butkus rhapsodize about collisions, I noticed two of our guys crying silently. One was the biggest kid on the team, larger than me, and I am 6'1", 200. Why were they crying? The tackling, their grand collisions resounding with noise and hoopla, had hurt. I wanted to protect them, these boys I barely knew. But how?