Hi readers. Jordan Symonds here, coming to you this week, not as a strength coach or an SST employee for that matter but as a football player and a former SST Athlete.
I played football for 7 years and will still watch any game that comes on TV. In grade ten I played football for the first time, for my high school. Having no idea what the positions were, what all the rules were or what impact I was going to have on the team, I bought my first pair of cleats before any cuts were made in tryouts because after a few practices I knew that no matter what, I loved football.Having no experience and being one of the bigger guys on the team (6’3 180lb. pole), the coaches put me on the offensive line. My thoughts: ‘’I think the coach is confused… linemen don’t get the ball… do they?’’ Linemen do not get the ball. Getting over my initial disappointment, like anything, I tackled this football thing as best I could (pun intended). I met with the coach on my own time to go over blocking assignments, run block techniques, pass block techniques, and general knowledge of the game. Being very eager to learn and to succeed, I picked up many skills very quickly. I did so well that halfway through the season the coaches decided to use me on the defensive line as well. Going into playoffs, I was on the offensive line, the defensive line, kickoff, kickoff return, punt team and punt return; I did not leave the field. My teammates would run on and off the field depending on who had possession of the ball, who was kicking, or who was returning. I remained. Standing tall, standing strong, and standing proud. As a football player who had only been playing for about 8 weeks, I was fortunate to be able to contribute everything I had in me to the team, my team. From this I learned something very important: work for the team, and the team will work for you. My intelligence, athleticism and dedication gave me the tools I needed to be successful; it was my passion as a developing athlete, and my passion as an integral member of cohesive team that set me apart. My team was a group of developing athletes just like me, athletes whom I likely would have done just about anything for, on or off the field.
My team went on to win the regional championship in grades 10, 12 and OAC, and we were fortunate to win the provincial championship in grade 11.
Consequently, my high school football career was successful enough to have university coaches wanting me to play for their teams; football teams who were very different from my high school team. I learned many valuable lessons playing high school football, but some lessons were not available. There was one thing that stood out like a sore thumb: I could no longer stand out in university football based on natural ability and athleticism. My god-given skill set was no longer enough to set me apart from other players; my love for the game was still very much present, but it was not enough. I needed to compete, and not just with other teams. I needed to compete within my own team. I was now part of a group of guys who had just as much natural ability and love for the game as I, if not more.
I needed to be bigger, I needed to be faster, and I needed to be stronger.
Stay tuned for part two next week…