Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
The Foresters had their last Winner's Manual Speaker of the preseason on the first day of classes. (Thursday) The Foresters were joined by Isaiah Harris, the Director of Player Development for the Chicago Bears.
Isaiah a former All-American at St. Cloud State, and a member of the both the Vikings, and Bears organizations, has a very special role in his player development. He focuses on helping current Bears players 1. Continue their education, 2. Financial education/Money Management, 3. Career Internships for their post playing days, and 4. Player Assistance Services (helping minimize distractions off the field).
Isaiah focused our players on the "scars" of their college football experience. The memories and the journeys that they will leave college and Lake Forest with. He also discussed how the path that they are taking is a difficult one, and that they are somewhat alone on this path, other than their teammates and coaches who are sharing in this journey.
The players response to Isaiah's visit was extremely positive and energetic.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Today marked the first day of classes here at Lake Forest College! While most students have just returned to the academic environment, our football Foresters have been preparing for this academic year for the past several weeks. During camp, Coach Cat arranged for the entire team to meet with Dean DeJuran Richardson to discuss time management and the importance of being academically focused during their time at the College. Additionally, the freshmen were able to meet with the director of the Writing Center, Professor Dawn Abt-Perkins.
When asked what he learned from meeting with Dean Richardson and Professor Abt-Perkins, freshman Mike Peters said, “I learned how to approach professors without being scared and I learned what I need to do to be academically successful here at Lake Forest. After all, that’s what we are here for.” Freshman Will Adams commented, “I learned that the Writing Center is the most underutilized resource here and it’s a good place to go for help if you get stuck on a paper.”
Coach Cat has always emphasized the importance of being both a successful student and athlete. When asked why he feels that it is important to hold separate meetings about academics with the football team, he said,
“At a school like Lake Forest College, the expectations of the College aren’t always in line with those of the students. When freshmen come in, they have this preconceived notion of what college is supposed to be like and it’s not always true. The professors here at the College are awesome teachers and players don’t always feel as though they should need to ask for help. I want to put the players in a ‘safe environment’ in which they see professors as approachable resources as opposed to just authority figures. Additionally, it’s critical that our players start strong because one bad semester can never be recovered. I want our players to be successful. In my mind, the achievement of a degree is not success…it is simply a goal. To achieve true academic success, they must maximize their abilities, learn as much as they can through shared experiences and become much more than just competent in a subject. Though I’m glad when all of our guys receive their degrees on graduation day, nothing makes me happier than when they receive awards for excellence, such as Phi Beta Kappa invitations and the Oppenheimer Award [won this past year by kicker Noah Dion ‘10].”
The upperclassmen were also eager to weigh in. Senior quarterback Geoff Sobey had the following advice to offer to the freshmen: “Write down your complete schedule Monday through Sunday from six o’clock in the morning to midnight, followed by getting to class ten minutes early to take front row seating. Then, find the cute looking girl in the class and study with her.” [We later learned that all came directly from Dean Richardson’s speech—it obviously stuck in his memory!] Sophomore quarterback Justin Novak added, “Go to your professors with anything. They are more than willing to help.”
It sounds as though the Foresters are off to a great start! Here's hoping for covered helmets...
--Elise Beckman, contributing author
[White paws are given to players for academic excellence, among other things. They are proudly displayed on the backs of the players' helmets. Look for them at upcoming games!]
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Foresters continue "Winner's Manual" Speaker Series!
On Monday morning the Forester Football team was joined by some members of the Lake Forest College Swim team for their "Winner's Manual" speaker. The Foresters were joined by a special guest, 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist Chris Thompson. Chris, who won the Bronze in the 1500M, is also a former United States Record holder in the event, came and spoke to the athletes about a number of different things.
The former Michigan Wolverine spoke to the Foresters about the things that they may need to "sacrifice" in order to become elite athletes. He spoke to them about the requirements, balance, and benefits of being collegiate athletes. In addition Chris spoke about overcoming adversity. In a manner that was relatable to many of the athletes in the room, Chris spoke about his own situation in overcoming surgery on both of his elbows at the same time!
Chris spent some time talking to the Foresters speaking about goal setting, which is a topic that has been of great importance during the 2010 pre-season. Chris provided some different examples of how goals sometimes have to change when you have no control over certain situations.
Chris, left a profound impact on the players, and at the end of the morning session, the players had the opportunity to share in Chris' reward as they had the opportunity to examine his medal from Sydney.
More on Chris Thompson
Monday, August 23, 2010
The Foresters have been keeping up with their rigorous camp schedule this weekend, as they helped new students move into their residence halls on Friday and had their first team scrimmage on Saturday.
Our football players made a positive impact on the Lake Forest College community on Friday, as they helped more than three hundred new students move into their residence halls. This act of service greatly improved the move-in experience for many new students, as they no longer had to haul their heavy items up several flights of stairs—the football team got to do that! Our players were sent to all three campuses to assist students, and their presence made a huge difference.
After helping with move-in on Friday, the Foresters were back on the field on Saturday for the first team scrimmage of the season! Regarding the scrimmage, Coach Cat said, “It was exciting to see. We were able to get a lot of reps in, and we ran about ninety plays. We got to see a lot out of our younger players. The offense moved the ball better than in previous years’ scrimmages, and that was great to see.” Junior offensive lineman Sal Perales said, “It went a lot better than it did last year. We still have room for improvement, but we moved the ball a lot faster.”
Team captain Steve Yena ’11 commented, “I think the scrimmage went really well. The offense is farther along, and continuing to improve. Overall, the defense looked very good. There are definitely a lot of positives to take out of it.” Coach Canty agreed, saying, “Overall, I think the offense did well. We still have room for improvement, but we did things that we couldn’t do in previous years.”
There were several players who stood out in Saturday’s scrimmage. Coach Cat said, “A couple of players who stood out offensively are running back Ty Van Valkenburg ’11, offensive lineman Sal Perales ’12, and offensive lineman Luis Martinez ’14. Defensively, linebacker Joe Stella ’13 stood out. Additionally, linebacker John Dillon ’14 made a great interception, and defensive lineman Michael Garetto-Balmer ’14 had a very good day on the defensive line.”
As the Foresters keep up their great work on the field, we are looking forward to GAME DAY a week from this Saturday! Come out to support your Foresters at their first game of the season as they take on Concordia.
--Elise Beckman, contributing author
Friday, August 20, 2010
Yesterday, the Foresters set to work on developing and recording the personal goals that they are setting for themselves this year. Coach Cat spent time with the players explaining the importance of setting goals at the beginning of the year. Coach Cat said, “Setting goals allows the players to be accountable for their actions, and to be actively working towards improving several different aspects of their lives.”
The goals that the Foresters are setting are in five distinct areas of their lives: family, spiritual growth, health and fitness, team growth and academics and career. The players are given time to think about the things that they value and want to accomplish. After their goal sheets have been completed, Coach Cat keeps copies of them in order to keep players on track and to offer personal guidance, if needed.
After working on their goal sheets, the Foresters attended the second annual pre-season pep rally in the Mohr Student Center. Our football players joined the other fall athletic teams, as well as the Forester Guides and Resident Assistants, in being welcomed to the fall athletic season. President Steve Schutt spoke, as did Athletic Director Jackie Slaats. Coach Cat also addressed the crowd, before unveiling the team’s new chant for the 2010 season.
Today, the team will be helping new students move into their residence halls. Thanks to their generosity, move-in will be much easier for all of the new Foresters!
--Elise Beckman, contributing author
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Last night, the Foresters were treated to a special night off to attend a Lake County Fielders baseball game. After several emotionally and physically strenuous days of camp, the Foresters were glad to be taking some time off together. Sophomore line backer Aidan Price said, “I feel that the football team is a fraternity…. we band together like brothers. Events like this help that bond.”
Earlier in the day, the team gathered for the fall leadership board draft. Coach Cat said, “This game was particularly important because our players sat together with their leadership groups and were given time to relax away from the football field. With new groups formed today, I felt that it was important for our players to develop those bonds with their leaders.”
During the game, Coach Parker commented, “Events like this are really important to our guys because it allows them to get their minds off of football and the stresses that come along with camp, such as learning the playbook and keeping up with all of the physical activities.” Freshman Dan Cluchey had something similar to say: “This is great because we get to spend quality time with our teammates. It’s nice to be able to spend time off of the field because we spend so much of our time solely focused on football.”
Led by team captains Steve Yena ’11 and Anthony Garetto ’11, our seniors provided the best entertainment of the night as they serenaded the crowd with their rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” As they walked off the field, senior kicker Tim Gruzwalski just had one question to ask: “How did we sound?”
The Foresters were back at work this morning, as they began another long day of practice and preparation. They will close out this week meeting with academic advisors and departments, as Coach Cat works to emphasize the fact that while football is important, it is not the only thing that matters.
--Elise Beckman, contributing author
To see video of our seniors' riveting seventh inning stretch performance, click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/user/LFCFootballForesters#p/a/u/0/_1pqZagLN84.
You know when you have a teammate who can inspire you just by looking at him. Or maybe you know that there is someone who will cheer you on, no matter what they have going on? For the past year and a half, we have been fortunate to have that type of teammate.
Now our teammate needs some cheering on from us. Benny Waters (pictured above) joined our program through our participation with the Friends of Jaclyn organization. I have started to find it amusing that they claim that "we adopted" Benny. In reality, Benny and his family, adopted us!
Benny has been struggling as of late, as you can read from his Mom, Lisa's, blog update.
I am hoping that many of you will help us as we try and bring some smiles to Benny's face while he fights with the heart of a true champion.
Please leave messages on his Caringbridge page: . He is in hospice and would love to see messages from you.
Benny's Message Board
If you would like to "mail" him something (card, etc) Please use the following address, and we will make sure that it gets hand delivered to him by some of our players.
C/O Lake Forest College Football
555 N. Sheridan Rd
Lake Forest, IL 60045
- COACH CAT
Monday night, the Winner’s Manual speaker series continued with a visit from Tim Connolly. A personal friend of Coach Sean McNicholas, Mr. Connolly came to speak to the Foresters about the impact that they can have on the lives of those around them, and the amount of opportunity that they have been given.
Mr. Connolly’s talk brought tears to the eyes of several players as he touched upon issues that are relevant in their lives. Sophomore wide receiver Jesus Alvarez said, “He was the best speaker that I’ve ever heard. Every other speaker that we’ve ever had talked about success in sports and in life. Mr. Connolly focused on values, and the importance of the people in his life. He said that we should be grateful for what we have and who has helped us. It really hit me when he said this because I talk to my mom and grandma every day, but it made me think about the people that I hadn’t thought to thank.”
When I sat down to talk with Coach McNicholas about the impact of Mr. Connolly’s presence, he said, “I think there were messages that he delivered to them that were, in some cases, very relevant to their own situations, whether it had to do with family or the privilege of going to a college such as Lake Forest. He made our players think about what hard work can provide in terms of better opportunities.”
Senior Max Koenen was deeply moved by what Mr. Connolly had to say. I asked him how Mr. Connolly had changed his outlook on life and he said, “Mr. Connolly made me think about the future and how to be a better person. He showed me that the things that I am doing now aren’t the most important things in life. They may seem important now, but they aren’t the most important.”
Safety Dylan Fout ’14 was personally invested in what Mr. Connolly had to say. After playing for Mr. Connolly’s basketball team last summer, Dylan already had an understanding of the impact that Tim makes on the lives of those around him. When asked how Mr. Connolly had impacted his life, Dylan said, “He was my basketball coach for the summer. That summer, I was getting into a lot of trouble and he changed me. He once bought me proper basketball shoes that I couldn’t afford. It really meant a lot to me. He has been the person in my life that I can go to with anything.”
It’s safe to say that Mr. Connolly left a lasting impression on the Foresters. Coach Cat’s intent in bringing the Winner’s Manual program to Lake Forest College is clearly being accomplished—the Foresters are thinking about much more than just what is happening on Farwell Field.
--Elise Beckman, contributing author
Monday, August 16, 2010
The Foresters were hard at work today as they split up and visited four different organizations within the greater Lake Forest and North Chicago areas. Groups were sent to help out at CROYA (Committee Representing Our Young Adults), the Ragdale Foundation, Equestrian Connection and at PADS Crisis Services of North Chicago.
At CROYA, our Foresters spent their time working on community service projects and playing games with a pack of middle-school students. CROYA Service and Outreach Coordinator Joanne Yorro said, “Having the Lake Forest College football team here was incredible. Their presence teaches our students that no matter how old a person is, they can always learn something from them.” When asked what his favorite part of working with the CROYA students was, defensive lineman Casey Flynn ’12 said, “Getting to walk around town and perform acts of kindness with the CROYA kids. It’s really fun to do our community service project every year because whether it’s a simple hello or cleaning out a horse barn, we are leaving a mark that says that athletes are not ignorant of their surroundings.” Eighth-grader Kyle Hanrahan wrapped it up nicely by saying, “Having them here was awesome. In fact, it was epic.”
A second batch of Foresters was sent to PADS Crisis Services where they helped to repaint the main community center. Mary Ellen Lovell of North Chicago Community Partners commented, “It was great to see their eagerness to come and help those whose lives are difficult on most days. Our residents were excited to see the group come to make the space better.” Upon returning from the shelter, defensive back Mike Nelson ’12 said, “Teamwork was accomplished here today due to hard work and dedication of the Forester brothers and it’s always good to give back to the community because the community gives so much back to us.”
Community service has been at the forefront of the Forester football program for several years. Coach Cat emphasizes the importance of community service with his players by integrating projects and outreach opportunities into their schedules, both during the season and throughout the rest of the year. Coach Cat said, “I feel that giving back to the community is essential to success as a team. Not only are our players able to give of themselves, but they are also able to grow as individuals and as teammates. It is encouraging to see so many of our players taking their projects to heart, and becoming fully invested in helping the people around them.”
After lending their help to the community today, the Foresters are back at work on the field—but not without remembering how fortunate they are to be student-athletes at Lake Forest College.
-Elise Beckman, contributing author
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Former professional hockey player Steve Alley came to speak with the Foresters this evening. A member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic Hockey team, and a two-time national champion at the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Alley has also served as a very successful businessman and was a key player in the 2016 bid campaign for the Olympics in Chicago. During his wide ranging talk, Mr. Alley offered numerous pieces of sound advice to our players.
After receiving a degree from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, Mr. Alley entered the world of professional hockey. At the age of twenty-seven, he decided to retire and enter a completely different world—the world of business. Mr. Alley took the time during his talk to address each class of players. While his advice varied by year, his most significant piece of advice was directed at all years: “Set goals for yourself. Even if you don’t reach the goal that you set, set them high. If you set your goals high, you might reach them.”
Several players were interested in topics other than Mr. Alley’s hockey career. When Team Captain Steve Yena ‘11 asked for advice about battling the current job market, Mr. Alley responded, “You have to really have a good resume—one that speaks to who you are as a student athlete. Refine your pitch. Talk about who you are and what you bring to the party.”
Mr. Alley emphasized the importance of setting and working towards individual and team goals. He noted, “Team chemistry means everything. In order to be good as an individual, you have to have some individual pride. But, it truly has to be secondary to what the team is doing.”
I had a chance to sit down with Mr. Alley following his talk. When I asked him why he thought it was important to talk to college-aged student-athletes, he said, “I think it’s important to pass on any experiences that I think will help them make the most of their opportunity.” If Mr. Alley could give one piece of advice to collegiate athletes, it is this: “Meld the two experiences [being a student and being an athlete] into one great experience…those who do will be a cut above the rest.”
The Winner’s Manual program will continue throughout the rest of the season. Tomorrow, the Foresters will have the opportunity to lend a hand (or 166 hands) as they head to several surrounding communities for their annual camp service day!
-Elise Beckman, contributing author
Saturday, August 14, 2010
The Foresters were hard at work at practice again today, hoping to beat the heat and continue to forge their individual skills into a collaborative team effort. While the Foresters’ performance on the field is important to Coach Cat, it is not the only thing that he is focusing on. Throughout the course of fall camp, the Foresters begin each morning with a Winner’s Manual session. When I caught up with Coach Cat, this is what he had to say about this incredible program:
“The Winner's Manual is our spin on an idea that Jim Tressel at Ohio State does with his players. We have changed it to be appropriate to the Lake Forest College Football players. We bring in speakers (past include Capt. John Malfitano (commanding officer at Great Lakes Naval Base) and NFL Hall of Famer Dave Casper) and have them talk to our players about different characteristics that are important to refine while in college. Some examples are becoming servant leaders, humility, professional communications, a sense of patriotism, being civic minded, etc."
The program focuses on training our players to think about their actions both on and off the field. When asked about how he starts the program, Coach Cat said, “Our players each receive a 400 page book with various quotes, speeches, and images that inspire, speak to, or educate on the different points. This helps our players refocus on those character traits when they are on their own time."
He continued by explaining his personal experience with the program:
“It was something that I started almost immediately after I became the head coach, and something that I think a number of our players really benefit from. It also allows them to share different feelings and talk to each other about important things outside of football."
When asked about why he thinks the program is so important for his players, Coach Cat explained the impact that it has on their lives:
"It’s important because as coaches, we are entrusted with helping these 18-year-old freshmen leave college as 22-year-old men who are ready for the world outside of academia. My goal is to see our players become better husbands, better fathers, and better members of the greater community. That is easy lip service, but it takes a lot to try and influence that. I am excited about how our team has embraced the idea of making this an integral part of the Forester football team’s foundation."
Tomorrow night, the Foresters will be welcoming former professional hockey player Steve “the Cat” Alley to campus. I’ll be able to sit down and talk to Steve, as he drives home the message that there is more than one definition of what it means to win.
We’re officially three weeks out from GAME DAY! Let’s go Foresters!
-Elise Beckman, contributing author
Friday, August 13, 2010
1st Day of Practice Update!
In keeping with the rigorous schedule that Coach Cat has set forth for the team during camp, the Foresters began practicing this morning. When asked about being up in the morning to begin conditioning, defensive lineman Casey Flynn ’12, said, “Starting early is always a different change of pace for the incoming freshmen, but I think that it went very well. We are really getting after it in the weight room. If we keep this tempo throughout the entire season and we take each game one step at a time, I think we are going to have a really good season.” During camp, the Foresters will be spending time building community and strength, both within position groups and among class years.
After observing the performance of the freshmen at this year’s conditioning, quarterback Justin Novak ’13 said, “I think it went a lot better than last year. A lot of the freshmen came in much more prepared than the freshmen were last year. The overall team speed was a lot greater than last year as well. As a result, I am looking forward to the 2010 season.”
In regards to the weight testing, Coach Cat was smiling from ear to ear.
“This was our first opportunity to ‘break in’ the new Wes and Sue Dixon weight room. Not only did we break in the weight room, we may have broken EVERY freshman year lifting record!Our players were really getting after it. Our freshmen were on average forty pounds per lift stronger than our freshman class of a year ago. There were some really impressive numbers being pushed. If this is an indication of playing strength, we are going to have a tremendous season. I know that a number of the upper-class guys were a little surprised at the strength of our new additions. Though there were a lot of bright spots, too numerous to mention, there are also some guys that we are going to have to spend some time with during the pre-season to refine their weight lifting technique.”
Coach Cat continued, saying, “Quite possibly the most impressive stat of the day was that our entire team was able to lift test three different exercises in under an hour. Last year, it took us three and a half hours to do the same lifts with a smaller team. This weight room is amazing, both in its size and its design. I give a lot of credit to our planning staff (Chris Conger, Brian Bruha, and Jackie Slaats) for their plan. I know that they took input from all of our coaches, but their final decisions made for one of the most efficient testing days I have been a part of in over a decade of college coaching.” The impressive performance by the Foresters continued throughout their first day of practice. It was evident that the team was coming together and building bonds, both on and off the field. Coach Cat was again impressed by the freshman class, saying, “I think that it was great that we had so many of our parents at the conditioning test, and they got to see exactly what was going to be asked of their sons playing football at Lake Forest. There were a number of players who really stood out, and a number of the guys who ran track in high school (Marcell Smith, Darrius McKay and Quincy Bagsby) really showed outstanding speed in their tests.”
As for some on the field football items, the offense and defense remained isolated from each other in the helmet only practice. Today's basic instruction will allow for a sharper learning curve for each player as they set a solid foundation. The two sides of the ball did get together for a "competition circuit" that included a number of challenging agility, speed, and strength drills. The highlights were the tractor tire flip race, the 2 vs 2 tug of war, and the Keg Toss race. The players also met on two different occasions to discuss various topics with the coaches regarding philosophy and X's and O's.
When asked if there was a singular play during the course of the day that truly impressed him, Coach Catanzaro couldn't decide between two of the plays he witnessed: "Freshman safety Alex Gracia made a heck of an interception during a defensive period. He dove, and dragged his feet in bounds while the ball and the rest of his body was hanging perilously out of bounds. Freshman TE Quernellus Jones made a one-handed catch during a passing drill that was really impressive too. Knowing that "Q" was playing in the trenches in high school last year, I was shocked to see such tremendous athleticism and hand-eye coordination. I think that these plays stood out more, because they were made by first-year players. I know that we got a lot of good work done. I can't wait to get back out there tomorrow."
As Coach Cat is working to strengthen his players, I hope that you are all looking forward to game day. 22 days and counting, folks!
-Elise Beckman contributed to this article
The Forester Football players returned to campus today to begin the 2010 Fall Football Camp. As more than eighty players and their families descended upon Halas Hall and Farwell Field, excitement was in the air. When asked about returning for the 2010 season, junior Sal Perales said, “I’m excited to be back, and I am glad to see all of my teammates. I am really looking forward to this upcoming season.” Returning defensive lineman Kenny Clady-Mason ’12 also echoed Perales’ feelings, saying, “I am really excited and anxious…. I am pumped up for both football and residence life.” Clady-Mason will be employing his time management skills this season as he is both a football player and a resident assistant at the College.
The 2010 season looks promising for the Foresters! With forty-four fresh faces, the Lake Forest Football family is welcoming its largest freshman class in school history.
With such a large squad, Coach Cat is looking forward to having the manpower to boost the number of wins this season. When asked about the upcoming season, Coach Cat said, “It’s an exciting time for Lake Forest College Football. I am personally excited to see what our new talent will bring to the program.”
Stay tuned for more updates from the 2010 Foresters Football Camp, and the season ahead!
- Elise Beckman- contributing author
Monday, August 2, 2010
Lake Forest College proudly unveiled their new website for the college on August 1st. The new user friendly, and vibrant page provides a captivating and engaging website for the entire college community.
"This is a tremendous greeting for prospective students, a reminder of the great institution for alumnus, and a website that we can all be proud of. This is a tremendous upgrade to the first impression that many will see of Lake Forest College," said Head Football Coach Jim Catanzaro.
In addition to the main website being updated, the Athletic Department website also received a new address: GOFORESTERS.COM and a new look as well.
Check out the new school website, by clicking on this link: LAKEFOREST.EDU