Perth Amboy’s Kyle Anderson, the quarterback for Middlesex County, wrote about his perspective on playing in the Snapple Bowl.
I started going to the Snapple Bowl game when I was 13. I observed in amazement of the players, cheerleaders, big crowd, and best assortment of stickers on a player’s helmet. Ever since then, I always told myself, “I’m going to be wearing that jersey one day for Middlesex.” I was motivated to have thousands of people to come and watch me play in the Snapple Bowl. But little did I know, this event was a lot more than a well organized helmet full of stickers.
The Snapple Bowl is one of the best events to be a part of year in and year out. Yes, I can definitely agree that the football aspect of the Snapple Bowl is awesome. The atmosphere, support from friends and family, this year’s new uniforms, big plays, and loud cheerleaders all may seem like the reason why the Snapple Bowl is such a great event. However, this is much bigger than the score. When all of the money that we raise benefits the children who need it — that is what matters most. Seeing those kids made me realize that our lives are different, but still the same. It may seem confusing, but although they may function differently than we do and may need assistance with certain tasks, they can still smile and interact just as well as anybody else.
Before my visit to Lakeview School, I would wonder if I was playing for anybody besides myself. I would think and ultimately, I was left with nothing. After my visit to Lakeview School, it definitely put things into perspective for me. The kids had a pep rally for us at the end of the day and that was all the motivation I needed. They shook their pom-poms, screamed their hearts out, clapped as loud as they could, and gave every bit of support they had. It was something special that I will never forget. With their support in mind, I began to think about who else I should be playing for. First, I thought about my family. They have been there for me no matter what, win or loss. I have had their support from day one at all of my sporting events. Plus, they were the people who put the ball in my hand. Next, I thought about my town. They made my nights special packing the stands and making rows by the fence to come watch me and my team give it our all on Friday nights. Last, but not least, I know I was playing for my high school, including my teammates, coaches, and the school itself. I’ve represented my school for four years now and I still will when I go to college. In addition, I’m playing for my teammates who helped me become a better player and teammate. There are seniors on my team that deserve to be on this team as much as I do.
The first day of Snapple Bowl practice I thought it was going to be awkward with about 50 guys all from different high schools to interact let alone win a football game in a week and a half. I was proven wrong in the best way possible. Our team is a bunch of guys that work hard and have fun at every opportunity possible. During water breaks, we all sneak up behind each other and shoot water at the back of their neck. We compete day in and day out. From individual drills to offense against defense, we make each other better and prepare for our opponent. The interesting thing is the teammates I have are all of the people that you read about in the paper contributing to their team every week. Looking at the roster before the season, I could pick out each name and recall meeting them at a camp during the summer or leading their team to a successful season. To know that we are all on the same team now after all of the years that we have crossed each other’s paths on schedules or even on the field is awesome in itself. Throughout all of the differences we share when it comes to high school, rivalries, and even position, everyone after four years is now connected in some way. I’m proud to be a part of it.
Entering high school, being invited to the Snapple Bowl was one of my goals I wanted to achieve and thankfully, it came true. My high school career has gone by faster than I ever thought it would and it will officially end on Thursday night. The end of my career is definitely bittersweet to say the least. For most of us, we all want to move on and become a student on our new respective campuses. We have the ability to meet new people, create new reputations, and continue our education and football career somewhere else. However, I know I would give up anything to play one more game under the lights on a Friday night. Feeling the support you receive from your town with packed stands, stopping you in town to find out who we play Friday night, and giving us stories of their past experiences on the football field will never be forgotten. It may never feel the same in college as it did in high school. But that is the curiosity inside of us that motivates us to find out if college and the atmosphere will be the same. The Snapple Bowl allows me to reminisce on everything I have failed and accomplished. I know this is going to be one of the most humbling experiences of my life on Thursday night. I hope you all appreciate it as much as I will.