As another football season has come to an end, I wanted to take some time to reflect on this sport, and why I hold it so close to my heart. My inspiration to write this post comes from the incredible group of kids that I was lucky enough to spend the last four months with, as well as my own father: Rick Elliott, This afternoon, he finished off his 29th consecutive year of coaching high school football, in my home town of Belleville Ontario, and who before, played five seasons as a running back with Acadia University, 1985-1989.
Every fall when the leaves began to change and the air started to become crisp, it was almost as if my Dad would go missing. He was always away in the evenings and always getting in late for supper. In my head I always thought..how can a person spend so much time on a football field. I remember games that they would play in the snow, which to my surprise, we got to do for the first time yesterday as well. No matter what was going on, or what the weather was like, 100% of Dad’s heart was always on that field.
A few months after I received my Massage Therapy Diploma, we were talking over dinner, and out of the blue, he said, “If you ever get the opportunity to work with a football team, absolutely do it. Just do it.”
Last year, midseason, I was contacted by one of our former coaches to see if Team Trainer/Athletic Therapist was a role I’d be interested in taking on. The only thing in my head at that point was my Dad at the dinner table saying, “Absolutely do it,” and I immediately accepted the offer. Shortly after the fact, I met with our head coach, Jamie Dearing, and we put things in motion.
Growing up as a competitive figure skater, there wasn’t any time to participate in team sports. I always understood the concept, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how empowering a team sport, especially Football can be.
Park View’s football team originated just two seasons ago, in the Fall of 2018. As a second-year team, we managed to snag an impressive regular-season record of five wins and three losses in our division. A first-round snowy playoff game and at the Acadia University Football Field is where we finished our 2019 season. All and all, this year was a huge accomplishment for our boys and we couldn’t be more proud of their athletic and personal growth.
At the end of the day, it’s always great to see the scoreboard in our favor, but Football is so much more than a win or lose sport. It’s one that with athletics, brings life long lessons, eternal memories, and growth of the individual that makes it all worth it. If you’ve ever played/been involved with the sport, then you know exactly what I mean. If not, I’ll try to help you understand.
Acceptance and Diversity
The thing about Football is that it accepts, and includes absolutely everyone. A team has space for 80-90 players, making it very unlikely for someone to get cut at a high school level.
Football has an incredible amount of diverse player positions, all of which require a very different ‘ideal’ body type. Big or small, fast or slow, this is a sport that is accepting to absolutely everyone. This is a sport that allows for a 5 foot, 100-pound player, and a 6’5, 280-pound player be on the same field, and work for the same goal.
Commitment and Time Management
When committing to a team sport, it is a commitment to yourself, as well as everyone else on your team. Practices are usually 3-4 times/week with a game during the weekend. Many of the players are successfully able to balance school, homework, football, and other extra circulars successfully. Many also balance a part-time job and manage to get everything done. Learning this balance and work ethic early on will make it easier for these players to smoothly transition into their adult years, and continue to be successful at whichever life path they choose to pursue.
Feeling That you Belong to Something
High school is a very vulnerable time in everyone’s life. Feeling that you belong to something, and having a sense of identity is something that everyone strives for in their teenage years. Football is a short season, but a lot of time and effort is put into those few short months. The bond that the players share exceeds what you see on the field with team lunch tables, work out sessions and crazy group chats. You always know, and it’s refreshing to see that the boys have each other’s backs through thick and thin.
As an Athletic Trainer, my role is to keep everyone as healthy as possible so that they can perform their best on the field. It’s knowing how each player performs under pressure, and how to help those who need a little extra confidence boost to get through the game. A lot of us have silly handshakes and/or inside jokes that we made up throughout the season. Believe it or not, handshakes and jokes are almost a way of saying, ‘you got this,’ without having to say anything serious at all.
Education early on is key. I try to educate everyone as best as possible, as to why taking care of their bodies will have a positive effect on their overall athletic performance. We have a 10-15 minute group stretch/cool down after each practice. It’s time for the players to chill out, reflect on the practice/upcoming games, ask questions, and see who can count to 20 the loudest.. lol Cullen, you win this one. The funniest thing about our stretch sessions is that the players have renamed all of the stretches, so all we have to do is call on someone and that’s their cue to count for their favorite stretch.. right Cowan and Greg?
If a day goes by that someone doesn’t reach out to talk about injuries/nutrition/workouts/rehabilitative stretches/exercises etc, it’s a miracle. It’s a great feeling to know that the players are actively trying to improve themselves, both on and off the field. It’s refreshing to see that at such a young and vulnerable age, they are taking the necessary steps to stay active and healthy so they can contribute their best efforts to themselves and the team.
We are already looking forward to our 2020 Football season. We have many talented players returning, as well as lots of upcoming talent from the local Seahawks Minor Football League.
Huge shoutout to our senior players, Caleb Mitchell, Cullen Carver, Emma Banfield, Mcaulay Jones, and Parker Fowler. Each of you contributed great things to our team, and we wish you all the best as you enter your next chapter. You will all do incredible things!
Huge shoutout to the rest of the coaching staff, Jamie Dearing, Joel Hurtibuse, Mackenzie McLain, Brenden Zinck, and Dave Patton. All of our coaches, especially our head coach Jamie Dearing, volunteer significant amounts of their time to give our team the best shot at success. We thank you for all you do!
Each and every one of you all taught me more than you’ll ever know. Thank you. It was a privlage to work along side of you this season. Can’t wait to watch you all shine in 2020.
Until next year,