By Chase Hammett '19
If you know me, you probably know that I have been a part of a few Randolph sports teams, all of which I have loved and enjoyed during my time here.
Collectively, what I have learned from my participation in athletics is the importance of being part of something that is bigger than yourself. For me, one sport in particular stands out above the rest, and that is football. My four years of high school football have challenged me physically, mentally, and emotionally. During this span of four years, I have been enlightened and learned important life lessons. A big part of this education outside the classroom is due to football.
Now, I know what your thinking…. Really? Football? That is what you have elected to talk about? Yes, because if I think about it, there is not a single other academic class or activity that I have spent more time on or learned more from than football. This sport has brought me victory, defeat, and sacrifice, all in one form or another. I’ve laughed, learned, and cried with my teammates through this sport. I have grown as a human and as a man through the constant lessons taught by my coaches and teammates. The lessons I have learned are too many to count, but today I want to share a few that are very important to me.
Now, I know what your thinking…. Really? Football? That is what you have elected to talk about?
The very first lesson that I quickly learned from this sport is accountability. Football is unique in the sense that one person can not easily take control of a game single-handedly (unless you’re Lee Witherspoon, the amazing player from North Jackson). In order to find success on the field, a team has to work as a unit where each particular player has his own role. You might have seen Luke Alison run an 80-yard touchdown this year (I did, and he was incredible for us all year), but what you probably didn’t see was a perfectly executed edge block by Carter Wimberly that was executed so well because of a look Noah Reed gave him in practice a few days prior. And all of this was instilled in us by our coaching staff a week earlier, when the game film showed that their linebackers bite hard on fakes. Every person has their own specific role on the team, and if that is accepted, the end product is pretty special.
The second thing that football has taught me that I will carry forward is how to show up on time and with a good attitude. Throughout my four years of being a part of this program, I have been to hundreds of morning workouts and practices throughout the summers. These past few summers, my teammates and I have probably been at the school by 7:00 AM more often than not. And 7:00 AM was not merely a recommended time; it was THE time (being three minutes late was simply not acceptable). Did I want to be at the school at 7:00 AM almost every morning? Of course not, but I was because my teammates and coaches relied on me to be there. Eventually, the hard part was no longer getting up, but the grueling summer circuits that Coach Gaunt put in place for us. If one of us came in with an “I can’t” attitude, we were probably going to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Coach Gaunt once told me, “You can either attack life as a shark or a minnow; you can either eat or be eaten.” And I will take that with me as I get ready to leave Randolph.
The very first lesson that I quickly learned from this sport is accountability.
The final, but certainly not last lesson I learned from these past years is all about enjoying the ride AND the final destination. To me, winning a Friday night football game is one of the best feelings in the world. And to be honest, it wasn’t because of any particular way I played, or any particular way we won. The feeling was so strong because the win came from the hard work my teammates and I put in months prior to that Friday night. The hard work that we had been putting in since January before the season started was finally showing its true form. Looking back on the journey to capture that winning performance leaves me with an appreciation for what we did and why we did it.
High school football has taught me many things and will continue to guide me in ways I haven't thought of yet. The past four years playing have definitely shaped how I look at upcoming challenges and at upcoming successes. Whenever I think that I "can’t" do something, I will remember my teammates and when we almost thought we “couldn’t” run another 50-yard dash. In times of success, I will not only think about the present moment, but I will reflect on and remember the work it took to get there. Most importantly, I will always find my specific role in my society, even when it’s not the one scoring touchdowns. And finally, I will remember to enjoy every moment, even the ones at 7:00 AM, because when those moments are gone, I'll be glad I did. These are the reasons, at least for me, why it is important to be a part of something bigger than yourself.
Thank you, football. Thank you, and may God Bless you. #53 out.