The Memorial Greek Amphitheatre on the campus of Santa Monica High School hosts graduations, concerts and one historically grueling stadium stair routine.
“Running the Greeks” has been entrenched in the Samohi football program since the early 1980s. The catalyst for running the stadium steps of the Greek, however, came from an unlikely source.
Former head coach Dr. Tebb Kusserow was asked to create a conditioning exercise for a local Boy Scout troop preparing for a weeklong mountain hike in California.
The experience of running the stairs with the Scouts inspired Kusserow to impart the regimen onto the Samohi football team.
“Physically it was exhausting, and mentally it was exhausting,” says current head coach Travis Clark, who was in his junior season at Santa Monica during the inaugural running of the Greeks.
Clark says, “Running those Greeks, you had a lot people questioning and second-guessing if they wanted to play football. Then later on, we started helping one another up and own. We wanted to make sure that every person on that team finished.
“That was the goal—preparing to finish.”
That camaraderie holds strong to this day. Every player completes the Greeks during a mid-July workout; some, however, are left with battle scars after stumbling on the steps.
It’s a point that Kusserow makes to the team during the workout, that every great player in the history of the program has left their blood on the Greeks.
Kusserow says, “I know for a fact that it helped us in terms of stamina, because not only is it a physical conditioning thing, but it’s a bonding through common suffering. They know when they go on the field that they are committed to each other. They have suffered equally.”
Suffering for the greater good of Samohi football.
See how other elite high school football teams prepare for Friday Night at Preparation Nation.