Photos by Nicki Gaylord of Heart & Lens Photography
With school back in session and and fall sports getting ready for kick-off we caught up with our HFM Kid Ambassador Robert to discuss his passion for football.
How many years have you been playing football?
I’ve played football for 9 years going into my 10th. I started playing flag football at the age of 7 and knew that the following year I wanted to play full contact.
What got you interested in the sport?
I was, and still am a very active kid. My grandparents encouraged me to participant in several sports. Baseball bored me, soccer was fun but I really excelled at football. My enthusiasm for the sport is what has kept me playing for so many years.
Who do you look up to as your sports hero?
I would have to see that my sports heroes are both Andre Johnson and J.J Watt. They are an inspiration of what a player should be on and off the field. Giving back to the community is important and sets the right example.
Who has been your favorite coach and why?
That’s a tough question because I have been fortunate to have had some really great coaches. The two that really stand out in my mind are; Reed Killion, my coach while I was on the Klein Oilers team, motivated me to be passionate about the game and Micheal Troutman, my coach at Kein Collins taught me that hard work pays off.
What do you feel are the most important character traits of a great coach?
The most important traits are drive and compassion. Anyone can coach but if you can’t motivate your players to play their best and inspire them to be compassionate to their fellow team players then you just don’t have a team.
What are your career aspirations in regards to football?
My goal is to be college bound on a football scholarship, but I am not considering a football career past my college years.
What type of challenges have you faced as an athlete?
Being an athlete is a balance game. My biggest challenges are staying safe on the field, dedicating time and energy to my school work and to my training and work-outs. I’ve been fortunate and have had only a couple of injuries. Being on the sidelines is not where I want to be on the field.
How do your friends and family support your athletic success?
My friends are also my teammates so I get all the support I need. My grandparents have raised me and in 9 seasons they have never missed a game. They have cheered me on every step of the way and have spent many weekends driving me to camps and football events – all for the love of the game.
Do you feel like you’re missing out on anything by being in sports?
I do feel that I have made sacrifices. My summers are spent at strength and conditioning camps or most recently at college prospect camps.
Have you had any serious injuries during your football career? What were they?
Yes! In my Freshman year I had a minor concussion and had to miss the last game of the season. In my junior year I injured my ankle and was on crutches for a couple of weeks.
However, the scariest injury I’ve experienced was actually this year. During my spring training I suffered from dehydration and ended up in the E.R. Always remember to stay hydrated!
How do you balance sports with school work?
If my grades fall, I can’t play so I keep my grades up.
We hear you just got a football scholarship, can you tell us more about that?
I have been offered a football scholarship at Bethel College in Newton Kansas. Bethel is a Christian College with a great coaching staff. It’s s small college in a small community.
Athletes have to eat healthy foods to be in top shape. What foods do you have to give up when you’re in training?
All junk food is out. I gave up candy, spicy food and anything with cheese. It doesn’t sit well before games or practice. I also gave up soda and caffeine in general because they can cause dehydration.
How much time per week do you spend training and practicing?
We practice every day during the school year except on game day. On Saturdays we review games and plays. During the summer we have daily workouts that last for about 2 hours.
What have you learned about teamwork from being on your high school team?
Winning is all about teamwork. Either a team works as a team and has a shot at playoffs or we go home early.
What advice do you have for kids just starting out in sports who want to aspire to college sports and beyond?
There is no I in Team. If you win, it’s because of your team, it’s because of your brother standing next to you and it’s the same if you lose. Hard work, dedication and knowing that your teammates have your back is what makes a team great.