Nate Smith: Football Prodigy


Photo Courtesy of: Nate Smith

Nate Smith, a football player

Chloe Reoyo, Journalist

Senior Nathan Smith plays center for the Varsity Football Team. He has been playing for all his high school years but made it to varsity two years ago. Being part of a team is something very common in the United States but it can sometimes be stressful. If students don’t know anyone that has been participating in that sport before, the only thing they know about it is due to movies, but movies are not always like real life. 

“I’ve always enjoyed playing and watching football,” Smith explains. “Whether it was at the park with friends or on an organized youth team. I’ve always wanted to play high school football but coming into freshman year, I was honestly scared to join the team. In movies and other media, you always see coaches yelling and people puking at practices which scared me coming in. Once I went to one practice I knew that It wasn’t going to be that bad and I could do it.” 

When someone does something they are passionate about, they go into a kind of trance, the outside world doesn’t exist anymore. They are passionate about their sport or their art, they don’t think about anything else. Sports puts them in an even more special state because there is usually a team around them, on which they can and must rely. More than a team, it becomes a big family united by a sport

 “One of the best parts of the sport is being able to hit the person across from you,” Smith says. “I’m not a very violent person but I think my teammates and coaches can agree that once I get on the field I can get after people. The team aspect, though, is the absolute best part. When everyone collectively works towards a goal you can grow a bond like nothing else. This is a great aspect that we had this year that we didn’t quite have last year. We weren’t just teammates this year we were brothers. We all knew what we needed to do and got it done. We supported each other and had fun along the way.”

Without football I would have struggled to make it to school in the mornings. It gave me motivation to keep my grades up and show up to school. Football has also given me lifelong friends that support me daily.

— Nate Smith

But it’s not always easy, most athletes don’t like the conditioning during the pre-season. They need to get back in shape and barely play their sport. They also need to learn again things they already know. It’s one of the most important parts of the training because you get perfect basic movements that will make the difference on the field. 

Smith justifies why it is his least favorite part of this sport, “My least favorite part is conditioning in the summer heat, as you could probably guess by looking at my position. However, I knew that it was preparing us for the season and looking back now I know that without it we wouldn’t have done as well as we did.” 

This season was extremely important and successful to Shadow’s players who made it to the finals of the playoffs. Being a very united team definitely helped them a lot and allowed them to progress with quality games where the school came to cheer them up. 

“One of the best times I’ve had this season was our road game at NAU. Everything about the trip and the game was extremely fun. From the bus ride, to the hotel, to the campus tour, and finally the game. Everything that we did on that trip was amazing,” Smith reflects. “Another season highlight was obviously our win over Las Vegas to advance to the state championship. In such a crucial game every part of the team came together to win. Defense only let up 35, offense was able to put up 64 and Jon Wilson took our first kick return to the house. It was a great game for me individually and a tremendous game for the team. 

I think that the team was amazing this year and I was half to be a part of it, obviously the only thing I’d change is the way that the season ended but that’s about it.”