(COVINGTON, La.)– St. Paul’s Freshman football players traveled with the varsity football team to Nicholls State University in July and were entered into the school tradition of shaved heads.
“Before getting my head shaved, I felt as if I would look ugly,” freshman defensive end Thomas Bourgeois said, “and I was afraid of getting sunburned at camp. When I got done with the shaving, I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Everyone was going through the same thing I was.”
Coaching staff members and players alike recognize the tradition of shaving heads.
“It’s an initiation into our football team (and) our brotherhood,” Offensive Line Coach Joe Dickens said. “(The head shaving) predates my 13 years here. It’s a message from the seniors to the younger guys saying, ‘Hey, I got my head kicked in when I was a freshman and you are gonna do it too.’”
The Varsity players are a group of brothers. And to be entered into the brotherhood, the young players must become skinheads.
“The transition from pre-freshman to freshman year is jarring to some members,” Bourgeois said. “The year can be nervous because you are now the smallest fish in a large pond.”
Along with having their heads shaved, life as a freshman football player is very different from the life of a pre-freshman player.
“The practices are very different,” Bourgeois said. “We do very different drills and we even practice on a different field. Everything is different; the equipment is better, and our new locker room is much nicer.”
The excitement of the season ahead is having an impact on Bourgeois as well, who is anticipating upcoming rival games.
“I am very excited to finally get to play with my teammates after a long summer of practicing,” Bourgeois said. “The game I am most excited about is (the one) against Mandeville.”
The 2016 schedule is always set to be a difficult one, even for the freshmen.