Saints, fans battle scorcher at practice
Advisory in effect until at least Tuesday as highs still flirting with 100
July 28, 2008
The temperature breached 100 degrees; hot winds blew through and made the campus feel like the inside of one of its laundry room dryers.
But it was business as usual for players, coaches and fans despite most of the state remaining under a heat advisory until 6 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
The advisory is likely to be extended into Wednesday, especially for central Mississippi.
Sunday's highs ranged from the mid-90s on the Coast to 102 in the Delta. The wether service said those highs are expected to remain the same today but may drop slightly by Tuesday.
Saints fans, who were somewhat more abundant in the afternoon than in the morning, battled the heat as the team practiced on Millsaps' lower soccer field.
Among them was Chris Lightell of New Orleans, who decided shirtless was the way to go.
"This is how we do it in New Orleans," said Lightell, 35. "Just deal with it. It's hot; you take off your shirt."
Lightell also said he's willing to deal with the sunburn that comes with not wearing sunscreen.
"No, I live with it. It's how we do it in New Orleans. We're tough. We roughed out Katrina."
Chris Dupree drove to practice on Sunday all the way from Baton Rouge and appeared to be a real trooper sticking out the heat. Dupree, 29, was wearing a back brace with full headgear surrounding his skull as he recovered from a broken neck and broken back.
But all the equipment didn't make the heat too much of a problem for him.
"I'm kind of used to the heat," he said. "The only problem is that I have to wear a long-sleeved shirt."
Betty Leydecker, 43, was well protected from the sun, sitting under a beach umbrella with her husband James, 40, while her sons Marcus, 11, and Josiah, 6, shared another big umbrella.
"We just thought we were going to be in the heat, and we thought about bringing umbrellas," said Betty, who also had cool drinks and SPF 50 sunscreen in her purse ready for use.
Marcus and Josiah, both sporting No. 26 jerseys under the shade, were just glad to be there to watch their favorite player.
"We're just out here to support Deuce," said Marcus. "I've never seen any of these guys in person, so I like it."
The heat didn't last much longer as a cloud cover and a much cooler breeze swept over Millsaps.
In the morning, fans enjoyed a light steady breeze that provided arguably the best conditions of camp thus far.
Brian Lambert, 20, had one of the few umbrellas in the stands during morning drills, a big black-and-white dome that covered him and his father.
"I figured it was going to be pretty hot today," said Lambert, a New Orleans native, "the same as yesterday and the day before."
Lambert also chose the right uniform, sporting a white Reggie Bush jersey.
"Black draws heat," he said, "so you gotta reflect the sunlight somehow."
Sitting on the top row of the bleachers, 10-year-old Zach Langley had a neat little gizmo to battle the heat at Saints camp: a blue squirt-bottle fan powered by two AA batteries.
"Every time I get really hot," Langley of Delhi, La., said when asked how often he uses it.
The little mist created by the contraption became even more valuable when the five others his mom brought for his family and friends were in use.
Tal McNeill of Crystal Springs said the heat is just part of the training-camp experience.
"Just getting out in it and dealing with it," said McNeill, 46, asked if he had a solution for the heat. "It's not going away, so you might as well deal with it."
McNeill, who was attending camp with his 8-year-old son, Ian, said later that attending the morning practice instead of the afternoon one is probably the best strategy.
"Last year, we came out in the afternoon, and it just about killed us," he said. "We lasted 15 minutes."