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Guest Post by Junior Demarco Valentino

The Everest Collegiate football program has helped turn students into men of Christ. This program has changed the lives of many Everest students, and without it, we would not be the same. It has helped us in many areas of our lives, both in school and out of school.

The football program has taught me in many ways to be a better person on and off the field. Something the coaches especially focus on is discipline. This football team builds you to be a disciplined person. Being disciplined means you are committed to the team, showing up on time, and taking care of your body in the season and off-season. Also, it means dealing with “sudden change” as Head Coach Pruchnicki says. Discipline is the foundation of this football team; without it, we would not be able to be the football team we are now.

The football program has also helped me and others on the team to become better leaders. Being a leader means helping and guiding others on the correct path. Through football, I have learned to be a leader everywhere I go, especially at home and on the field. I am now much better at leading and helping my younger siblings with many things such as chores and sports. They look up to me, and as their leader, I need to do my best to show them how to become one as well. Our football program has some great leaders who teach the new players to understand their roles and responsibility as team members. 

Also, football has taught me to help and sacrifice for others. As one big football team, we always sacrifice ourselves for our teammates. We put others first and ourselves last, and this has translated not just on the field but in my home life as well. At home, I now sacrifice more of my time for my parents, because of how much they do for me. I sacrifice for them by doing extra chores, helping my siblings with their homework, and trying to put them before myself. Football has really shown me how to be self-sacrificing, and it is one amazing quality that you learn very quickly through the examples of others.

Being part of a football team means you have to always be active and cheer each other on. Even when you aren’t on the field, you need to be constantly giving high-fives and fist bumps to your teammates. Doing this will keep the team morale up, and it will keep the players energetic. When you are on a team and something bad happens, if a player drops a pass or does not do their job correctly, we don’t ridicule and say bad things to the player. We just keep them encouraged and engaged in what they are doing, by cheering them on even more. Always cheering on your team means having respect for them, and it is a job that everyone must participate in. This skill you learn in football has helped me to cheer for others and to make sure they are always feeling motivated to play and do their best in everything.

Our football coaches continually build character development in many areas for the players. The main quality they hope to build in us is a “Love for Christ.” (Coach P.) This means that they are helping us build our relationship with God. This can be shown in many ways such as celebrating a Mass or praying a rosary before every game. Also, we have a saint of the week; each week, one of the players is assigned a saint and researches and tells the team their story. Then the chosen player gives us a medal of that saint. We have a saying written on our jerseys that says “All for Him.” This saying means we do everything for God, we make sacrifices, and never forget His love for us. He is the reason we are here and on this team, so we play “All for Him.”

Our coaches also build in us “Truth, Brotherhood, and Spirit.”  (Coach P.) These three things are also written on our jerseys, and they are what we as a team live by. Truth means our coaches teach us the truth about God and about how we are performing. They also teach us how to live the truth by helping our teammates. Brotherhood means we are all brothers; we would do anything for each other. We are all one on this team. If we win or lose, we do it together. We rely and count on each other, and we trust one another. Spirit means our relationship with God. As a team, we need to be able to trust each other, and having a good spiritual relationship with God helps us in everything we do. Our coaches help us get there by “Leading by example, helping, holding us accountable.” (Coach P.)

According to Coach P., the football team is really only about one thing: “All for Him.” This is such an important saying for us as players and coaches. It fires us up! We know what we have to do, and we are going to give our best effort for Christ and for our teammates. This football team is very important to the players. Coach P. adds that it “Gives them purpose and mission for a common goal.” Without this football team, most of the players would not be the outstanding men that they are today. This team has changed the men in it to be better, stronger, self-sacrificing, and disciplined. 

The players are grateful for the way that the team helps form their character. When interviewed, Thomas Shea replied, “It builds discipline by attending practice every day and giving our best effort. Also, it helped me appreciate the value of time.” Football is constantly developing the player and shows us that, through hard work and discipline, we can get anything done. Thomas Powrie remarked, “Football has shown me the benefits that hard work and discipline get me in life.” Duncan Brown said, “It has made me more of a man, helped me learn the truth of brotherhood.”  Michael Wojciechowski added, “It has made me stronger, physically and mentally.” As a whole, the players on this team are very appreciative of the team, the coaches, and the way the coaches on this team transform the players into real men of God

In this football program, we all have learned so much through our coaches’ and other players’ examples. All of the time and effort we have put into this program is worth it. The attributes we are learning and have gained are making us better men, preparing us for the world, and teaching us how to be men of Christ in it.