The music filters in above the bleachers on the warm spring day.
One might expect cheesy Jock Jams dance tunes, Black Eyed Peas or Green Day. Instead, the Citrus baseball team is rocking out to Wham! and Holding Out for a Hero from the Footloose soundtrack.
Just like the music, everything that is old is new.
It's not like the 'Canes, who field a veteran squad, are trying to make a Mariah Carey comeback, but the start of the season brought a 5-0 loss to rival Crystal River last week.
Last season started rocky, culminating with the now legendary night run around the field after Citrus coach Jon Bolin told the team a story about tribal hunters coming back from slaying an elephant.
The analogy that all had to work as one brought the team together and helped Citrus earn a Class 4A district title and semifinal berth last year by beating Tarpon Springs 2-0 in the region quarterfinals.
Sprinting down the sidelines this season, two-by-two, the 'Canes seem relaxed, yet focused.
"It feels good," senior first baseman Anthony DelGuidice said. "I think we're going to be a good contender this year."
But they know to get back to the district championship and into the playoffs again will be harder.
"Everybody wants that title," senior catcher Mark Xenophon said.
"You've got to come into the season as if you have a target on your back and play your best every game, because when you don't, that's when you have a bad season."
Citrus graduated catcher Ryan McPherson, an important leader, centerfielder Matt Lehman and outfielder Nick Van Gorder, sparkplugs from behind the plate.
Bolin said he is confident the 'Canes have all the components to do as well or better than last season, but knows that doesn't happen in the first weeks.
Instead, he's taking an "it's a marathon, not a sprint" attitude, because everything in life tends to have way of coming back around.
Dawn Reiss can be reached at (352) 860-7303 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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