Dec. 25, 2013
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The University of Michigan football team spent Christmas Day in the desert dividing its time between bowl preparation and holiday festivities. Team 134 began its day by holding an active 14-period practice at Chaparral High School and finished its third day in Scottsdale, Ariz., with a 5 p.m. Christmas dinner with 320 members of U-M's travel party.
For the third day in a row, the Wolverines donned shoulder pads and shorts while working out for nearly 70 minutes under picture-perfect blue skies and temperatures in the lower 70s. At the conclusion of practice, fifth-year offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, sophomore wide receiver Jehu Chesson, sophomore linebackers Joe Bolden and James Ross III, and freshman defensive back Channing Stribling met with the media.
Upon returning to the hotel, the team wrapped up football activities for the day with position meetings. From there, players had the rest of the afternoon to themselves. Some members of Team 134 elected to get in a midday nap, while others could be found poolside playing in competitive games of water volleyball.
The team Christmas party featured plenty of entertainment, including an appearance from Santa Claus.
Courtney Avery helps Santa hand out presents (left). The freshmen kicked off the caroling with "Deck the Halls."
After the travel party finished dinner, head coach Brady Hoke instructed each class to perform a Christmas carol. One by one, the freshmen ("Deck the Halls"), sophomores ("Santa Claus is Coming to Town"), juniors ("Jingle Bells") and seniors ("Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer") completed the task. Michigan's coaching staff even got into the festivities, performing a special rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock."
Before leaving the party, players created personalized holiday cards for troops stationed in Afghanistan, thanking them for their service. Those cards will be delivered to troops who are based out of Chelsea, Mich.