Club Insider

"Insider Speaks"

The JOY of Football

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The game of football is not for the faint of heart. In fact, the game of football became what it became in America because it taught those like me, young American men who had started playing the game when we were 9 or 10 years old and played the game for 13 years, how to deal with adversity and pain. It also taught us all how to be very dedicated and determined when trying to achieve a goal in life. Football also taught all of us who played the game a deep work ethic that, in all cases I'm aware of, has lasted for a lifetime. These are work ethics that my son, Justin, my partner in Club Insider, and I learned and retained from our very valuable experiences playing football.

The JOY of Football is real and is shared by millions of us who've played the game. And, we share the JOY of Football with those like my brother, Gator Dave, who have not played it but still love the game of football very much anyway.

The JOY of Football has been made possible because of the men who've dedicated their lives to teaching the game to young men and coaching them to perfect their talents and efforts in the game. Coaches like the one and only late George Flood, my beloved High School Head Football Coach at Rome Free Academy (RFA) in Rome, New York. Coach George Flood was a former United States Marine, and if that doesn't mean anything to you, then consider the work ethic Coach Flood taught and instilled in us at RFA: Every Summer on or about August 1st, our Team would report for 3 - A - Day practices. You read that right. For two long weeks, we would practice three times a day... early morning, mid-afternoon and early evening. To say that this 3 - A - Day practice ritual made men out of us pretty quick would be a real understatement.

In Rome, New York, I was blessed by a wonderful Italian family, the Dominick and Loretta Marchione Family, the parents of my best friend, Russ Marchione. Just before my senior year at RFA, my now late Dad was transferred in his job as a jet engine tech rep with Pratt & Whitney to Morehead City, North Carolina. When I found out about the news that, right before my senior year and my last high school football season, I was going to be forced to move to Morehead City, N.C., a tiny town on the coast of North Carolina which had a high school that was about 20% of the size of Rome Free Academy, which had 3,200 students, I was devastated. That meant that, during my senior year, I'd be playing football at a tiny school with a tiny football team, and the competition would not be good. When I told my best friend, Russ, about the devastating news, he thought about it and then suggested that I move into his home with him and his Mom and Dad for our senior year. He explained that his sister, Loretta, was going away to nursing school so they had a spare bedroom.

I was thrilled and truly thankful for the opportunity, so I stayed in Rome, New York while my family moved to Morehead City. Remaining at RFA, I was Co-Captain of our Varsity Football Team my senior year. There, I was also honored by being named to the All New York State Football Team, and I earned a full football scholarship to N.C. State University in Raleigh, North Carolina for my efforts. A year later, I was also elected Co-Captain of my N.C. State Freshman Football Team. I played Offensive Guard, and during my senior year at N.C. State, I was honored by being named to the 1st Team All Atlantic Coast Conference Team and was named to the Honorable Mention All American Football Team.

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