An assistant coach for the last year, as well as a Pingry teacher, Mr. Hoepfl looks forward to leading Big Blue.
By Niles Luke '22
When I think about this upcoming season, it's easy to find a sense of familiarity in the craziness of this past year. I still lace up the same beat-up black cleats I have been wearing for the past couple of years, and I still put on the same torn, grey practice jersey every day, just like I did last year. However, when I put on my helmet, which is now lined with a face shield, the new world that we live in presents itself.
This year, the details are more than just memorizing plays and watching film. This year's details are more vital and crucial not only to our success, but more importantly to our health: putting on masks on the sidelines, socially distancing when off the field, and making sure to follow COVID-19 guidelines off the field.
The details are dictated by effort and focus, and this year's squad has done nothing less than give 100 percent effort on every single drill, precaution, and workout. This year, everybody is new in some capacity—the upperclassmen have to adjust to new schedules and COVID restrictions, while the underclassmen are completely new to the whole process. We, as a team, have had to hold each other accountable for not just the football details, but for off-the-field details as well.
If there is one thing this team has learned from COVID, it is the value of time. I have not seen a team play with such urgency as I have these last few weeks, and to say that it excites me is an understatement. Every battle played on the field by this team is not only played with hunger but a desire to finally take control of their future and destiny between the lines of play when so much has been dictated by things out of our control.
While COVID may have dampened our hopes and shortened our season, the fire that every player has has only grown brighter. The goals remain the same: win, hustle, and most importantly, get better with each play. This year's team and season are a lot different than in the past, but I know that this group will prove how we can change and adapt for the better.
Photo: Niles (right) and teammate Logan Bartels '22.
Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, email@example.com