Bender's Bowl Blog -- Thursday

Hey Wolf Pack Fans

I was surprised to see how popular my blog entry has been, hope you guys have been enjoying it. It was even linked and talked about on today on Andrea Adelson’s page.

Today was another day hard at practice for us.  We had our typical bowl routine now of waking up, having breakfast, going to meetings and getting ready for practice. It was another physical practice, with contact drills -- offensive starters going against defensive starters. But we were all excited to here at the end of practice that today was the last contact day and we’re gonna be getting ready for Boston College exclusively for the rest of our practices. This can only mean one thing: We’re getting close to game time!  Which, after almost five weeks now, everyone is very excited about.

After practice was over we had an opportunity to do something I think everyone needs to do. We went to Alcatraz.  Now for me personally, growing up in Canada, I had heard about Alcatraz before and known it was in movies, but I didn’t really have a full understanding of all that it was about.  Going to the island and taking the tour was a very interesting experience.  They led us around the island and took us right to the cells. The island and the prison are all practically intact still and left more or less exactly how it was.
The prison cells are small, very small.  Walking in the door was a struggle for me, I had to turn sideways and duck.  Understandably I’m not typical size, being 6-8 and 325 pounds.  But these cells were unbelievably small, especially the solitary confinement cell.  This solitary confinement cell they let us sit in for 30 seconds, and closed the door. It was literally so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.  I had to duck to stand in it, and I could almost touch all 4 walls if I stood in the middle of it.  They told us that prisoners had to be in there for 24 hours a day and one prisoner stayed in there for 19 days straight.  For me that was unbelievable, I couldn’t even imagine living like that for almost three weeks.

A lot of famous prisoners also stayed in Alcatraz, specifically Al Capone. On the tour they have tour guides who tell you a lot more than I could ever tell you. But it was interesting to see all the players listen to the stories and ask questions. I know a lot of my teammates have trouble focusing and being serious in a lot of situations but they were all focused in and listening to these stories without a problem, very interested to hear what the guide had to say.  The rest of the guys and me will definitely remember our trip to Alcatraz.

When we got back from Alcatraz we were given free time and I’m sure a lot of the guys are visiting with friends and family that are here to see them in the bowl game. I know my first batch of family members came in today. My uncle and my cousin arrived from Canada this afternoon. They texted me to see when I would be able to see them and I told them not until this evening. So they made arrangements to head to San Jose to catch a Sharks game tonight. Typical Canadians, eh?

I know they’re going to enjoy their trip to the Bay Area and I hope the other 20,000 or so Wolf Pack fans that we expect at the game will enjoy their experience as well.  Have a safe trip over the mountains everyone and we as players look forward to hearing that Wolf Pack chant at AT&T Park on Sunday night.

Hope you enjoyed another blog entry from me.

John W. Bender



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