Football creates a family

Senior Jonathan Hacker shares how football has changed his life

Senior Jonathan Hacker has always been a competitive athlete, but never has a sport captivated him in the way football did. According to Hacker, the competitive nature of the sport ultimately unveiled his real potential, and the presence of football in his life is something he will always be grateful for. 

“It’s something that I chose to do,” Hacker said. “I’ve always had a lot of fun with the sport, playing it at brunch and lunch. It’s how I met a lot of new people, and it’s helped me strengthen those bonds to this day and develop friendships.”

Hacker said his interest in football started when he saw the sport on TV, and he found a way to actually start playing the sport at a youth program called Pop Warner when he turned eleven-years-old. His love for football only grew from there, he said, and he joined the HHS football team in his freshman year and has continued to be on the team since then. While Hacker said he does not plan to continue his football career in college, he said he will always be thankful for the joy he found through the sport. He said finding genuine bonds with teammates is one of the best parts of football, and it creates a strong support system within the team. According to Hacker, football is not just a team sport, it is a sport where everyone’s contributions truly matter, so a sense of pride and belonging with the team is solidified. Hacker said their energy fuels one another and propels them forward.

“In other sports I’ve never really established a bond with anyone on the team,” Hacker said. “But football, it’s a place where you have to have each other’s backs, and I love that people have my back.”

FOOTBALL PREP BEGINS: Jonathan Hacker prepares for the game on the field. (Photo courtesy of Joshua Cantwell-Nahrung)

In addition to the sense of family and commitment in the sport, Hacker said football was able to build his work ethic and motivation for school. 

“Football is a lot of hard work and it teaches you discipline and responsibility. So it really helps you become a better human being and a person,” Hacker said. “You develop good time management skills and I just love the brothership that we have out here and how everyone’s playing for each other.”

On the field, Hacker said his mindset is directed toward the success of the group, not just himself. Knowing that there is mutual support on the field pushes his motivation and love for the sport.

“There is a lot of teamwork involved when playing football, so you’re going in with the mindset that your teammates have your back and you’re playing for everyone,” Hacker said.

Besides the bonds built internally, Hacker said football also brings the student body together as a whole. There is a powerful motivating spirit brought by a large, energized crowd partaking in school spirit, Hacker said. 

“I definitely think it helps bring the school together,” Hacker said. “It seems like they’re all having fun in the stands. I think it’s a way for people to get to know each other better.”

Although football has a positive impact on those inside and outside the team, Hacker said there can still be a negative stigma surrounding the sport. Despite the ideas some have about football being dangerous and crude, Hacker said it has done nothing but improve his high school life.

“I think some people see [football players] in a negative way, but we put in a lot of hard work and we’re all just normal people trying to have fun,” Hacker said. “It’s just trying to get yourself out here and commit the time to play something that’s really fun, and that you can be proud of.”