Alex Boone has provided some insight with a diary on his preparations for 49ers training camp, which opens later this month:
I am having a great time since I arrived in Cleveland on June 21.
I work out every day with LeCharles Bentley at his O-line academy in Avon. LeCharles helps me to keep focused on the skills of an o-lineman. We work on a different body part every day — arms, shoulders, legs, abs — and we do footwork and drills. He likes to make us do crazy stuff like turning truck tires and pushing him in his truck up hills. He’s crazy, but it’s a great workout and you get to know muscles you didn’t know you had.
I do lots of cardio, and then I run with my 10-year-old sister around the neighborhood. She rides her bike and I run behind her. She has this old school pink Schwinn. It’s so girlie. The other day I got on it and she had a fit. Both the tires totally went flat for a minute. She thought I popped them. It was funny. She got all weepy until I got off and she could feel the air was still in them.
I helped to pull a 120,000-pound airplane with 19 of Cleveland’s finest men in blue, the Cleveland Police Department. That was the highlight of my trip home so far. We had a great time, even though the temperature was in the 90s; but I got a great tan. We had to wait in line for hours before we got our chance, and it took us 6.1 seconds to pull the plane 12 feet. We got a second chance, but did it in the same amount of time. Each team to had give at least $500 as an entrance fee, which was donated to the Special Olympics. The police gave the most, $2,700, but we came in fourth. The winner was the Gorilla Pit, a bunch of power lifters from Mentor, Ohio. They had this woman in the group (yes, they were a coed team and we were all guys) and she was wearing this leather gladiator outfit. I was like, “dude, it’s Zena!” And then they kicked our asses, so I shut up!
It’s good to be home and get some of my mom’s good cooking. She’s great at making up her own recipes for chicken, which is all I can eat to stay in shape. Even when I think I can’t eat another piece of chicken, she’ll make it smell good and I’ll think, “ok, one more bite.” Then there’s my grandmother’s yelling, “Alex, pick up your shoes, they’re so big they’re like having a car in the house. Alex, get your clothes in the hamper so I can wash them. Alex, stop teasing your sister.” Wow, she has a set of pipes on her. I bet she’d give coach Mike Singletary a run for his money any day of the week. I still love her though, even if she smacks me every once in a while. “Ha, ha, Nana, I can hardly even feel it.”
It’s also good to be home so I can spend some time with my girlfriend, Dana, who’s awesome. She’s beautiful, smart, and even better, she thinks I’m funny (or she says she does). We went to the zoo and had a great time. It was so hot and we walked a lot. We were all betting on how long it would take the polar bear to get in the water. I was hoping to see some penguins, but we didn’t. I was a little bummed. I’ve also seen a few movies, one of my favorite things to do. I spent some time chillin’ with my uncle, who is a special education teacher in Cleveland public schools and my other uncle, who is a commander on the Cleveland police force. We have lots of family picnics and Saturday night family parties. And lots of graduation parties — one cousin from St. Eds (a state champion wrestler) is headed for University of Virginia while another from St. Ignatius (a champion kid) will attend the University of Toledo. I have so many cousins and we all live in the same neighborhood, within walking distance. I’m so proud of how they’re all growing up to be such good kids.
We actually spent a little time watching old home movies. It was so embarrassing. My mom showed them to my girlfriend. I was one of those kids who looked like they were six, and were actually two. My mom used to call me crazy legs. Now I know why. I was all over the place. It’s funny to watch.
We also went to our parish picnic at St. Mark’s Catholic Church. We went for a couple of hours and saw lots of old friends. It was good to see Fr. John (our pastor), he just got back from Italy. He’s a great guy, and without a doubt my best friend. He’s totally understanding and he’s got a real aptitude for teaching. I talk to him a lot and I’m glad he’s there for me. He always knows just what to say. Someday we’re going to go to Italy together and he’ll take us to the Vatican. I’d like to take my mom there. She’d like to travel and we usually have a lot of laughs together. Wolfpack forever!!
My older brother is in Montana finishing up at the University of Montana. He’s a geology major with so much intelligence it’s sick. My mom and I spent a weekend with him recently and he took us on some amazing hikes. It’s like being on a school field trip all the time. The stuff he knows is ridiculous, like how all the mountains form, and all kinds of stuff about nature and the environment. I can’t believe he’s the same kid that used to jump off garages with me. He’s an ex-Marine and spent some time in Iraq a few years ago as the point man for the 3/8 out of Camp Le Jeune. He’s got great stories. I’m really proud of him. He’s always been my hero. He just had his first wedding anniversary. I love his wife too (Lizzie). They’re like two peas in a pod. I can tell they’re meant to be because when they talk to you, they both talk at the same time about two different things. Like I can listen to two conversations at the same time!
My little sister, Juli, wants to go to Niagara Falls while I’m home, so that’s a big priority. She’s my little peanut, even though I tease her to death, but I figure that is a big brother’s job. I figure if I can make her get mad and get her all worked up, I’m successful. She loves basketball and has been to like four different basketball camps this summer.
That’s about the extent of my time spent at home. I loved every minute, but I’m anxious to get back to really serious work in San Francisco (where I left at least part of my heart).
I have stayed close to my more supportive friends when I’m home. There are a lot of guys I just can’t hang out with anymore because we don’t want the same things. I love ’em, but I can’t be with people who don’t have good healthy living as a priority. I can’t allow anything to jeopardize my success. I feel like this is my time. I’m working as hard as my body can work because I want this so bad. There’s nothing else more important to me right now. I think about all the guys that I’ve played with over the last couple of years. Guys I thought would be stars at this level, but seemed to disappear into the woodwork. Some of them were guys I knew were talented, smart and hard working. I just don’t understand what happened to them that they decided to move on and do something else. I guess part of it is getting to the next level and realizing how much more it has to take to be successful. But part of it is that they just didn’t want it anymore. And I can’t understand that. I want this so bad I can taste it. I can’t think of anything else. It’s all that matters at this moment. It’s everything. I don’t remember ever feeling so passionate about anything. I will do whatever it takes to reach out and take what I know is mine. Football is who I am and what I love. I can’t imagine my life without it.
I feel so grateful to the 49ers organization and “coach Sing” for taking a chance on me. For believing in me. I am so grateful to be playing with the greatest group of guys I’ve ever known. I know it sounds cheesy, but I have so much respect for the guys on this team. The O-line is awesome. They are the greatest group of guys and they all help me so much. They are so behind every thing I do; Tony Wragge, Adam Snyder, David Baas, Chilo Rachal, Barry Sims, Eric Heitmann, Cody Wallace and Joe Staley. I can’t even explain how much I owe them. All the guys on the team are great. The defense is great, too. Justin Smith is such a cowboy! I can just picture him riding a horse and working on a ranch. Playing against guys like him is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I wish I could explain how much I appreciate what all those guys do for me. The only way I can really thank them is by working harder and making the 53-man roster.
— Alex Boone