Sherman Oaks Notre Dame Project: The development from boys to men

On Aug. 8, 2018, eight freshman football players at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame began their participation in a project. The idea was once a year to take their photo to show how they changed during four years of high school.

My participation was to interview them to see how much their personality, confidence and goals changed over four seasons.

No one changed more than Jonas Baklayan, who was a 5-foot-11 14-year-old quarterback with no facial hair and little to say when it all started. If you watch the initial video interview, it’s pure comedy.

VIDEO | 04:23

Sherman Oaks ND Football Development

Interview of the Sherman Oaks ND players from freshman year to senior year.

“What are you excited about?” I asked.

Staring into the camera somewhat intimidated, he said: “I’m excited for playing football and also excited for a . . . hold on. Can we repeat this?”

“High school starts next week. You’ve been waiting for this moment. What excites you?” I asked, trying to make him feel a little more comfortable.

“I’m excited for doing what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, which is … Jeez, what am I supposed to say?”

Baklayan broke out a smile.

“What are your expectations?”

“My expect … my expect …” That’s as far as he got as he couldn’t pronounce expectations and just started giggling.

“This will make good by your senior year,” I told him.

Baklayan ended up being one of only three players to make it through four seasons playing football at Notre Dame. He joined Joey Santorico and Troy Littwin as survivors through the ups and downs of high school life. The other five either stopped playing football or transferred out of Notre Dame.

On Aug. 4, 2021, I returned to Notre Dame for exit interviews. Baklayan no longer plays quarterback. He’s a 6-foot senior defensive back with a beard, a 4.1 grade-point average, and far more confidence talking about his aspirations and experiences.

“When you stay at one school for four years, there’s obviously a lot of adversity you have to overcome and there’s a lot of players that either transferred in or out,” he said. “It really takes tough people to overcome tough times. There’s tough people who make it through and have something special at the end.”

Santorico, a long snapper, said he reached this point through commitment and effort.

“I wouldn’t have had opportunities if I didn’t commit as much as I could,” he said. “One of our friends gave a speech freshman year and said, ‘It’s physically impossible to give 100%, so give 99%.’ We laughed. Now we’ve taken it and we try to give 110% every way we can.”

Littwin, a linebacker, came in feeling a little more comfortable as a freshman because an older brother had come to Notre Dame. But he had never played football and used the sport to find his way.

“It’s something that pushes me to be better on and off the field,” he said. “It’s made me a harder worker, more disciplined. I enjoy the person it’s made me.”

Stay connected with us on social media platform for instant update click here to join our  Twitter, & Facebook

We are now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TechiUpdate) and stay updated with the latest Technology headlines.

For all the latest Sports News Click Here 

 For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! TechAzi is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More