Gabriel Martin-Sheard



I’m going to talk about my experience with football here at RHP. When I was in eighth grade here, my friend was doing the stats for the football team to get service hours and asked me to do it with him. I said yes, and I ended up helping with the stats for three or four games with him and another kid in our grade. Doing the stats for the football games with them made me want to join the football team the next year, and I did. My freshman year of football was more fun than I expected, we traveled, ate, practiced, and played as a team. I didn’t really play much in my first year though, because I was a freshman and there were more experienced players who would do a far better job than I could at the time, but it was still fun enough for me to keep playing up until now. 


In the second half of my freshman year, after winter break, the pandemic started. We took a couple days off of school and then we went into “distanced learning”. We stayed in online school until late in the following school year. The worst part of covid wasn’t having to do school online, that didn’t really affect me very much, it was how it affected the next year’s football season. Our practices were weird compared to the year before, many of the seniors graduated so we barely had enough players for a team and the restrictions at practice made it hard to get anything done. We ended up only having one game that year that was against a pretty good team, and we lost. 


The year after that, in my junior year, things were pretty much back to normal: we were back at school, our practices had little to no covid restrictions, and more covid restrictions were being lifted each month. We won a little over half of our games in the regular season, but we lost our first game in playoffs for our division. A few weeks after that, our coaches told us they weren’t gonna coach here anymore. The old coaches left without securing new coaches for our next season, so we were all a little worried about how good the new coaches would be.


 After winter break of my junior year we started to hear that the school found us a new coach. We met him pretty soon after that, and most of our worries about the season faded. Coach T was so enthusiastic about this year and about expanding the program here, that he wanted to start right away. Our practices and team workouts started with only me and a couple of other players, so the guys that showed up really got to know our new coach and what his plans were for this year. More players started to show up until we had everyone on the team coming by the time we started summer practices. We practiced and worked out basically every weekday that summer after the dead period ended. Time went on and we had our first game, and every week since we’ve had a game. At this time last year we weren’t doing nearly as well as we are this year. Our new coach believed in all of us, and despite challenges we’ve all faced, our senior year has had the best season by far for this team that us seniors have ever experienced here at RHP.


If there's one thing I would want to leave my speech off with, it’s that sometimes things will happen that are unexpected, but that we can make the best of these situations. Thank you.



To all my teachers that I’ve had here: Thanks for always helping me when I needed it, and for being here with me this whole way from sixth grade up until now.
The football team: Even though most of us are going to graduate this year, you guys have a lot of potential without us seniors. Even though I won’t be able to play for the next few games, you guys proved to us that you can adapt and keep it going. Let's win a ring this year.
Coach T and Coach Harper: Thanks for always believing in me and in what I can do, I’ll miss being at practice next year.
Football seniors: The past four years have been really fun. We’ve all been through so much together, especially during covid. I’m going to miss all you guys.
Kai and Brett: It’s been fun playing football and being in classes with you guys, I’ll miss you when we go to college.
Chance: It feels weird that we’ve only been friends for like less than two years and you’re already one of my best friends, thanks for always being there
Braden: Thanks for always being one of my best friends, sorry we’re gonna have to leave you alone with your own grade next year.
Jacob: —------
Ryan: You were one of my first friends here, thanks for always being one of my best friends, I know you're gonna do well at whatever college you decide to go to, I’m gonna miss you when we go to college
Grandma and grandpa: Thanks for giving me this opportunity to go to RHP, I wouldn’t be the same person as I am now if I didn’t go here.
Mom and Alan: Thanks for always supporting me and my decisions, and for always believing in me. I love you guys.