Category Archives: Football

LuHi Football: A bigger message

There is an elephant in the room. The elephant is that football is a dangerous sport and that kids shouldn’t play it. I concede football is not the safest sport, but I will say…..it has never been a safer sport than it is right now with better equipment, new rule changes, and a better understanding of concussion symptoms.  Football is no stranger to rule changes as the game was historically under the microscope for its brutality. In 1905, Teddy Roosevelt met with college presidents at the White House to discuss the game, because its brutality was reaching some unacceptable levels.  As a result of this meeting and other discussions, the forward pass was invented along with the new position of wide receiver which spread the game out drastically. We are currently at another one of these historical paradigm shifts with the game of football, as helmet to helmet contact is now further restricted by modern rule changes, all in an effort to make the game safer and acceptable.

Here at LuHi our coaching staff and players are adjusting to these new rule changes while preparing for our upcoming season. There is some excitement in the air as LuHi will begin the fall of 2019 competing in the Metropolitan Independent Football League (MIFL).  This is a league full of not just good football teams, but excellent academic schools. Last year the champion was Rye Country Day School, which represents both of these attributes. As a member of this new league, LuHi has also been selected to take part in a football/concussion study which may eventually lead to further rule changes, as our league is a pioneer in this cutting edge study.  We are excited to be a part of the MIFL and to take part in this study, which will blaze the trail for changes that will make football much safer.

 

This summer our program had the opportunity to compete in a 7 on 7 tournament hosted by our new league.  LuHi ended the tournament as champions, defeating Hackley in the semis and Morristown-Beard (NJ) in the final. As a result, there are no secrets: LuHi has some folks that can play football.
While we are excited about the opportunities moving forward, the bigger questions are – Why should people play football? and What do I want our players to take away from their LuHi football experience?  

Like many sports, playing football has many life lessons, some of which are GREATLY emphasized.  One player can’t dominate a football field. It is an 11 on 11 game and as such TEAMWORK is developed to the greatest of extents.  A Division I quarterback can’t be effective if they are not protected by the well-orchestrated protection efforts of the offensive line in front of them.  This scenario can be created for any position on the football field. Football is an incredibly technical game where the collective efforts of the team far outweigh any individual talent or effort.

As a coach, one of my missions for our program is to develop this emphasis on teamwork into a community – one that supports one another but also looks to extend this support to our greater Long Island community.  I want our players to take away an understanding that life is bigger than football and to use some of the lessons they have learned to serve their community.  Last year, we had a group of our players volunteer to help an organization set up their homeless shelter at Ascension Lutheran Church in Deer Park. We worked as a team to transform a church gymnasium into a functioning shelter in the dead of winter.  I want our players to take away the command of Jesus to “Love our neighbors as ourselves” and for them to understand that everyone is made equal in the image of God and as such we need to empathize and treat all people with respect. Setting up the shelter, and the interactions we had with some of the people staying there, really helped deliver these messages outside of the football field.

While the game of football teaches us valuable life lessons, like toughness and accountability, I believe teamwork is one of the more important lessons.  It is my hope and prayer that our players take these lessons and continue to extend them into their communities.
By: Chris Reno – 7/24/19
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