Our Summit youth football program belongs to the NJSYFL (New Jersey Suburban Youth Football League) and each year they have an award ceremony where they offer $500 scholarships to winners of an essay contest from the participating 12 towns. They request players to write an essay about what football means to them and how it has shaped them in some way. We have never had a winner before and this year, current 8th Grade Jalmari Paasonen, won the contest. His essay describes what the football program means to not only him but the town, alumni, and community. Jay is native to Finland and has two brothers, Ollie and Kalle, who have come through the program. Read his essay below about his Hilltopper experience.
Over the course of years, football has become greatly challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally. The players grow substantially, the plays develop more convoluted, and failing to complete a play expands to depression. All states of a person vary throughout football, but the concept remains. The Summit football program stands not only at strapping on a helmet and heading to the field, it is tremendously more intriguing. Honoring the players of the past, acknowledging the roots one flourished from, and setting a tone for the future players. The listed are only a fraction of the vast definition. The program is based on three key elements; pride, discipline, and tradition. Those principles are the backbone of the philosophy of the program.
A game must not be played without the right attitude. In beating a team, skill plays a slight role. One must have the will to win. One must have the pride. The mindset to every battle, on and off the field, is always to exit with a triumph. Forcing the opponent away from the quarterback, arriving at the correct location to tackle down the ball carrier, and dashing faster than all others to the end zone. This lesson may as well be applied to everyday life. Maintaining one’s competitiveness is a natural aspect in life. In school finishing the assigned work prior to the class, fighting to master a complex instrument, or even persisting after rejection. Managing pride means enduring and never surrendering; a skill educated in football.
To never complain of the resources offered. Discipline in football is thoroughly hammered into the mindset of players the very first practice of the very first season. No questioning the coach's orders, only completion. Hardships in the sport are a daily aspect. Disagreeing with a position, opposing a specific play, and being located off the field. Most crucial of all, the precedent to never be late. One must grasp this discipline hard to endure the season and succeed in life. All challenges in life, physical and mental have a set of rules. With home chores, indolence is not to be thought of. One must overcome and execute. Away from home, at school a test is a particular region for slacking. To prosper in life, one must authentically matriculate the exam. The tenacious discipline in football informed one to never trick himself.
Always respect the past experiences. Traditions in football last forever. The game is altered through rules and players, but the idea remains. The special pregame warm up, kicking off the season of with a deliberate camp, and gathering together by clasping hands as marching into the match. To dishonor such profound traditions is found uncivilized, both on the field and in life. Unraveling gifts one at a time on Christmas, expressing gratefulness with five different languages on a birthday, and indulging an arrival refreshment at the summer cottage. To re-huddle, traditions will remain and repeat annually. Each is meaningful, but the memories gathered from individual experiences assemble one to be unforgettable. With no praise for special traditions, extraordinary images will not form in the mind. Without memories, life will end stale and empty. Considerate traditions in football instruct one to appreciate memorable moments shared with teammates, friends, and loved ones.
Arriving from Finland, football began as a whole new concept of a sport. The idea of running into one another may seem extreme, but as advancing that is only a fraction of the grand scheme. Pride, discipline, and traditions were always an element in a person; football helped to enrich the understanding and expand the essence of them to life. One may believe to have acquired the significance of life, but only a false interpretation. To truly understand, one must have played football.