Varsity Football - Last Day

September 3, 2017

Everyone was thrilled to sleep in a little this morning. Many of the boys were sore, but still elated over last night's win. After breakfast we headed to Petco Field and the Padres-Dodgers baseball game. Ensconced at the Sun Diego Beach area of the stadium, we were almost at field level, well-placed to witness all the action. An endless taco bar/hot dog bar helped to fill the boys up, and some of them had the chance to mingle with their families.

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Back on the bus, it was announced that Coach Kale had cancelled afternoon practice, giving us time for chalk talks and a final study hall. Lest you think that "study hall" is a euphemism, know that our boys really buckle down and work during those time periods. Other hotel guests are astounded to look into the ballroom or walk down the halls and see dozens of boys lined up along the walls, all working intensely. It's a testament to how seriously they've taken not only the athletic goals of the trip, but the academic ones as well. Over the course of this week we've had numerous compliments from servers, hotel staff, university personnel, restaurant managers and more, telling us that this team is the best behaved, most appreciative group of young people they've taken care of in a long time. We are so proud of them.

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After a delicious dinner at Phil's BBQ we returned to the hotel to pack. With the contrasting scents of Febreze and well-used athletic equipment assaulting our senses, the last cases of water and Gatorade decimated, boxes of snacks and hands of bananas finally exhausted, the team and their coaches met for one final time in the ballroom. The team presented signed photos to their position coaches, Coach Kale, Mr. Kakos, and Aunty Karen and a special thank you to Mrs. K. Coach Kale and the seniors spoke to the boys of lessons learned, bonds formed and challenges yet to come.

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Mr. Kakos summarized the trip, telling the team, "We asked you to put your best selves forward and you did." He referred to last night's game as "the best high school game I've ever seen. It was glorious; it was unbelievable." He recounted a conversation with Fox Sports today in which he was told that our game was the national high school game of the week (and that drew a rousing cheer from the team.) He referenced the transformation that he and all the coaches saw in the team this week, that showed on the field last night. "We have a deeper brotherhood now. You have a resilience and a toughness that wasn't there before," he concluded. Just before we headed off for bed, each member of the team was given an Honor Bowl shirt that will be tomorrow's uniform of the day.

Blog by Dean Marguerite Ashford
Photos by Ray Kunishige