A Look Back: Reflecting on four years
By Jake Holmes
Redcoat Review Writer
Posted May 26, 2020
On March 20, I made my deposit and decided that I would be attending Hamilton College in the fall to receive a tremendous education and continue to play football. A few days or so after that, the coaches sent me a program that would carry into the summer, consisting of lifting and conditioning. I headed over to Sage Park to complete the conditioning part of my workout in the upper grass field. In the middle of one of my sprints, I stopped and just stared at a section of the turf field. Memories began racing through my mind from my four years of playing for the Redcoat football team. That was the first time it “really hit me” that I was leaving the Berlin bubble. I thought this would occur on my senior night, my last play, my last homecoming, yet it happened on a random Tuesday afternoon in April by myself. Berlin High School has groomed me into a person that cares for others, is determined to exceed goals, and learns lessons from experiences.
During my senior season of football, I learned how resilient one can be. In the first game of our season, I witnessed my best friend break his leg right in front of me, my other best friend get his shoulder ripped apart, and an entire roster looking at me for answers. Luckily, I still had my fellow captains, Danny Lynch and Mike Rivera, by my side to help steer the ship, but even after that first game, we were expected to be less than mediocre.
Yet each week, someone new would step up to help deliver a win. It was unheard of for so many talented starters to get hurt and for the team to still clinch a playoff spot. 36-11 in four years. I am blessed to say that I was a Berlin Redcoat. As a senior that played for this team, it hurts knowing that I’ll never put the Berlin uniform on again. Nothing will ever top running out to Sage Park with an entire town behind you and the B on your helmet. Even though it never ended the way we all wanted it to, the bond with coaches and players are ones I’ll have forever. Being a Redcoat football player for four years gave me several different options for the next stage of my life. The community service work, awards, captain recognition, and letters of recommendation got me into colleges that I would not be able to even look at without football.
My junior year, our basketball team won the conference for the first time in over four decades. Our team was loaded, above average at every single position, and was built of mainly seniors. This left me in a situation where I was not playing, so I had a decision to make. Once I got to the varsity level I realized, there are people that are just flat-out better than me. I had to make a decision. I could stay, work hard and be the best teammate I could possibly be. Or I could have quit, yet I knew that there was a chance I would have missed out on something special.
I am pleased I chose the path I did because sitting on the bench and learning not only the game but also specific character traits from people like 2019 Berlin High School grad Ryan Hyde and Basketball Coach Veneziano molded me into a great leader.
My advice to any underclassmen that are reading this is to take advantage of the opportunities here. In addition to the two sports I played, I gained the most beneficial attributes from Unified Theater. I never expected to get so involved and fall in love with Unified Theater like I did. There are endless clubs and sports that you may be interested in and excel at so just go out and do it! You will only benefit from putting yourself out there and taking advantage of the opportunity.