As practice season is turning into Friday Night Football, the Rome High Wolves are not looking back to last year’s State Championship. Coach John Reid said “We don’t pressure our kids. It is their year and it is 2017.” Coach Reid prides his program on being built one down at a time, pressing hard, and playing the game. “The rest will take care of itself.”
Though he knows that at the end of the season, someone gets to hold up a trophy and receive the accolades, he also realizes how great it was for our community. When mentioning the way the entire community came to watch the team come back home with the trophy, I told Coach Reid that it was an amazing feeling. He said “the kids deserved it” and “parades are the way heroes are welcomed and those kids were heroes.” The program is really seeing the old East Rome/West Rome divide, morph into a great athletic and academic program.
We talked about the pressures that come with playing and performing in games with the players. Coach Reid talked about when he implements a program, there will be pressure put on the coaches, players, and himself. He told them “We are going to fill the stands and you are going to perform.” He credits the pressures during practices to helping the players be prepared for the pressures of the games on Friday nights. One thing that spoke loudly about Coach Reid, is he told me, “We haven’t told the kids that have to defend the State Championship this year. There is no pressure from us about that.”
Rome High is a great school about focusing not only being great athletes, but being great students. The amount of students in summer school has dropped, grades have improved, and more and more students are becoming academically college ready. Every home game is stilled played at Barron Stadium and it is the official “Home of the Wolves”. Another noteworthy thing to add, the Rome High Marching Band sounded amazing during practice. With football practice in front of you and the band playing in the background, who doesn’t get excited for Friday Night Football.
I asked Coach Reid if he had anything he wanted to say about the students and the upcoming season. You can hear the passion and care he has for his students when he talked about how far the program has come in a short time. He said that “the students are a joy to work with” and that “there is a lot of momentum going for it”. They have over 500 kids from 3rd grade to 12th grade playing football. He could not compliment his coaches on how hard they work with the kids and how hard the kids work for them. There is a true commitment from both coaches and players to the program.
(Full disclosure, I am the proud Aunt of one of the Rome High Wolves players, Defensive End #93, Cole Hickman. On a personal note, I have seen the community at Rome High come to together. Parents taking care of kids, kids looking out for each other. In the end, isn’t that what community is all about?)