Four Years of Football

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Four Years of Football

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After the outcome of the John Adams football season, I have noticed that there has been a slight division among among students and student athletes. It is easy to support a team when it is doing well, but it is when the team begins to develop deficiencies that the foundation of support starts to dwindle. The football team my freshman year (2016) boasted a 7-3 record with losses only to the Mishawaka Cavemen, Penn Kingsmen, and Lincolnway East, one of the top ranked teams of Illinois. However, as time progressed, impact players such as Andrew Burgess, Jack/Liam Driscoll, Mason Cossey, and Eric Williams graduated from the program, leaving it to the new recruits that grew beside them. As expected, the program had a couple rebuilding years to fill in some gaps. This is the most that any spectator would be able to notice on a Friday night. What they do not see is what occurs in between games or before and after the season.

As a football player for four years I have seen the amount of work that goes into developing a team from all different aspects. From the offseason practices and workout sessions to summer camps and regional competitions, football tends to absorb any free time that one may get from school. The unsung heroes of the operation in this instance are the coaches. Most of them spend seven days a week and give up time with their family in order to voluntarily coach in hope of improving the team as much as they can. During the week players spend 2-3 hours a day practicing plays, running drills, and studying film in preparation for upcoming games and competitions. 

With the outcome of the past few seasons, I have been asked by parents and multiple classmates about the time that I spend in football. Questions such as “What is the purpose of all of the time you spend if you lose the game anyways?” and “Why do you exhaust yourself like this when there are ‘better’ things that you could be doing?”. For many football players including myself, the answer to questions like these can vary but most of them tie in to a few particular themes. First, this sport develops multiple skills and morals that assist people as they grow older. The ability to communicate with other people confidently and efficiently just as the players communicate on the field is a necessary element of survival in modern day society. The sense of accountability that is established through the coaches provides players with moral integrity and ultimately makes them more responsible. Second, football is seen as an opportunity to be successful. Regardless of win or loss, athletes know that if they put in enough work and execute during Friday nights that they can gain the ability to pursue post-secondary education through athletic scholarships. For some, college may not be affordable or academically achievable. A recent example of a player from Adams that has overcome personal circumstances to receive a scholarship is Iraken Armstead. Even though the program has only won six games in the past three years, Armstead has proven himself through his commitment both in and out of season that he is a collegiate level athlete and he received a full-ride scholarship from the University of Virginia. For some football players, the sport even provides a safe haven to escape from situations at home or on the streets. Lastly, the players build a sense of comradery and develop relationships that are tight knit and sturdy. Through success and failure, players support and build each other back up to work towards the following week. For the players, football is more than a game. It is an opportunity to learn valuable life lessons and become a better person. 

Around the school, students, parents, and faculty have commented on the lack of success of the football team, some in a more disrespectful manner than others. What some fail to remember is that football is a game and these players have devoted most of their high school career to playing. Wins and losses are only one aspect of a team and should not define the amount of support they are given. As a graduate of this program, I know these players deserve support and respect for all of their efforts and I encourage the spectators to remind themselves that football is a game, regardless of the outcome.