WATCH: High school football players in Cleveland share 'why football' in senior speeches

By Kailey Harmon | Posted 6/12/2018

The seniors at University School, a private all-boys high school in Cleveland, gave some touching farewell speeches, a tradition that precedes graduation each year.

A few seniors from the football team included a theme in their speeches that answered the question, “Why Football?” and what football means to them.

Football Scoop shared a video put together by assistant football coach Brian Kennedy, featuring their nearly poetic responses.

Their messages included a fresh perspective on what football teaches players on and off the field, how football is more than a game and the lessons learned will stay with them long after they hang up their jerseys.

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For Geoff Schoonmaker, the University School’s football mission statement “to train and prepare to compete to be champions” has served him in football and on the debate team. He said that he is prepared if he loses a round in the upcoming national championship because of what he’s learned from playing football at University School.

“This year, when I head to the next round, I won’t be worried about the things outside of my control,” Schoonmaker said, “I’ll do what the U.S. football program trained and prepared me to do and I’ll compete to become a champion.”

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Teammate Ben Hebert joined the football team as a senior. He described the first time he was on the football field as a player.

“I look back on this moment with pride because it reminds me the audacity I had in deciding to play a sport that I had never played before,” Hebert said, “And not just any sport ... one of the most physically and emotionally demanding sports in high school.”

In his brief experience, Hebert learned the same lessons all football players learn, but with a newer perspective that he believes others, who have been playing their whole lives, often lose.

“Somehow, on that football field, you get a feeling like nothing could ever matter more than you. Your country. Your state. Your city. Your team. This play. I feel like these veteran football players don’t understand how unique that feeling is, but as a newcomer, I was able to experience it with a fresh perspective and able to appreciate its almost magical profundity. This feeling is the greatest thing I gained.” Hebert said.

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Bastien Weisbein describes his last season playing a new position of center – one he didn’t feel he was capable of.

“I was honestly dumbfounded. I never even tried to snap before in my life, let alone play a game on varsity,” Weisben said, “How was I supposed to become center in such a short time?”

Soon enough, Weisban found a sense of accomplishment in his position and a belonging to the offensive line. Though it didn’t seem like an ideal adjustment in the beginning, Weisban ultimately knew it was where he was meant to be.

“I’m glad I found a place where I feel like I belong and that I’m needed and that I want to be a part of. I’m glad that I’m a center for my football team.”

Check out their full speeches here: