Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Foresters Play for a Cause--and a Teammate!

On Saturday, the Foresters hosted the Grinnell Pioneers for the Foresters’ fourth game of the season. In the end, the Foresters were defeated by a score of 41-20. However, Coach Cat and the Foresters took more away from the game than what the scoreboard read at the end. On Saturday, as with every game, the Foresters were playing for a cause.

Saturday, September 25th, marked the national “Coach to Cure MD” program throughout the country. Each year, football coaches from colleges and universities across the United States rally to support the fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The most common fatal condition amongst young men, DMD is a genetic disorder that causes muscles to rapidly deteriorate. The average life expectancy of a person with DMD is 25 years.

When Coach Cat was asked how the “Coach to Cure MD” program impacted the Lake Forest College community, he said, “I hope that first and foremost it has helped raise awareness of this disease. There are very few diseases that affect young men so specifically. I know that when the day is over, we may not raise funds at the level they may at Michigan or Ohio State, but I do know that we have been able to engage students, faculty, and fans in a discussion about DMD."

During Saturday’s game against Grinnell, the Foresters fought valiantly to catch up to the Pioneers. When asked what happened on the field, Coach Cat said, “On the field, we had a chance. After the fumble (forced by Luke Butts) we had a very advantageous field position on the 41-yard line. We had two big plays, a pass to Ty Van Valkenburg, and then a rush by Geoff Sobey. Those two plays made it first and ten at the 11-yard line. On third down and seven, we gave up a sack on a missed protection, and this led to a 4th down that was not in our field goal range against the wind. We decided to go for it, unsuccessfully. To Grinnell's credit, they capitalized on two very uncharacteristic penalties on the next drive. Our only two seniors that were on the field, both committed personal foul penalties. They were then able to hit another deep pass against our deep zone coverage. They were up 14 at that point, and we put together a drive that dips us into the red-zone for the second series in a row. Unfortunately, a holding penalty put us in a long down and distance situation. We weren't able to convert from there. I believe that if we had scored on either of those drives, we would have been able to put more pressure on Grinnell to answer us. Those were two pivotal points that we needed to convert on.”

The Foresters have been at work again this week preparing for this weekend’s game against Carroll University. Coach Cat said, “I think that over the course of this week, our players will be focused on taking that next step. In our last three games, we have had a chance to take the lead, and we have been unsuccessful in doing so. We need to take that next step in order to break our streak.”

Looking forward to this weekend, we end on a note of remembrance. During last Saturday’s game, the Lake Forest College community celebrated the life of Benny Watters by honoring him with a moment of noise. Coach Cat commented, "Pre-game, we had a moment of noise for Benny. We didn't think that a traditional ‘moment of silence’ really fit Benny's personality, or his relationship with our guys. I think it was a great gesture, and I know that he was looking down cheering us on. I was really honored that his mom and dad, and two sisters joined us for the Forester Walk in the morning as well.”

Always looking ahead, but never forgetting to look behind--let’s go Foresters!

--Elise Beckman, contributing author

Photos: (L) Coach Cat wears his "Coach to Cure MD" patch. (R) Junior Josh Kabala catches the ball. (Photo Credit: Scott Sanford '14)