Safe to say you had nothing like this growing up.
Northwestern football coach James Martin promised some fresh ideas when he was named the Trojans' head coach in March and he delivered the first one May 30. The Northwestern football players' lounge was revealed Wednesday evening, two rooms containing an Xbox, PlayStation, pool table, foosball table and a barber's chair, all decorated with reminders of the school's big-time football history.
"All this revolves back around to the players," said Martin. "It's a 365 sport now, they're up here all the time. I thought it was important that, as much as we ask of them, certainly we can give back to them. This is a small token."
The players' lounge was fully funded by donated money.
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Northwestern athletic director Lauren West said Martin cooked up the idea, part of his pitch when he applied for the head job in January. A 2017 trip to Clemson's football facility, stuffed to the gills with perks for its players, inspired Martin.
"It's been his vision and something he's taken on to enhance the program," said West.
Shifting the players' lounge from a dream in his head to a reality required the community's help. Janene Britton, of Britton Flooring Company, donated carpet for the two rooms.
"I wanted to be a part of it," she said Wednesday evening while checking out the finished result. "I just believe you give back. This will be really cool for the kids."
Martin rattled off a litany of names, companies and organizations that contributed to the project. FASTSIGNS, Classic Home Billiards, Kamego Chiropractic, Domino's Pizza, several local churches and even Shabazz's Barber Shop, which will stop by once a week during football season to cut hair and make sure the Trojans look sharp on game days, all contributed in some way. Peggy DePass helped Martin decorate and design the room, giving it an undeniable Northwestern Trojans feel. And at least five others donated anonymously in various capacities. How much was the total donated?
"Priceless," said Martin, grinning. "It's invaluable to think what this can do to an athlete, to be able to change their lives."
Martin isn't sure if other high schools are creating similar spaces for their football programs. Kids can study or hang out together in the lounge, important since not every kid at the school has a safe or comfortable place to relax away from Northwestern.
"A home away from home for the kids," said West.
The players' lounge isn't the only renovation in the athletics-focused portion of Northwestern's campus. As part of the school district's bond that passed several years ago, Northwestern's B gymnasium and several surrounding areas, including the weight room, got new floor and ceiling tiles, and also air conditioning for the first time since the school was built in the early 1970s.
The players' lounge was formerly called the '89 room, a place where the coaches and position groups would meet. Most would agree it wasn't a beautiful or inspiring space. Now it has a more handsome appearance and a somewhat higher purpose.
"It's important for us to recruit our hallways," said West. "We have to have the kids that are on our campus participating in our programs, in athletics or the arts. Those are things that schools are having to do now to entice kids because there are so many things that they can do, and there are so many things they don't want to do. It's a way to show them we care about them, and not just about football."