Do you miss coaching? This is a question that I often entertain. Whether I am at work or Wegmans, the answer is very clear. No. But there are certain aspects that I will always crave. Not being able to interact with my guys remains a major void. Building relationships with my players was what it was all about. The wins were great. Sure. But the lasting friendships with the boys are quite special. It’s a beautiful thing. Something that I am extremely proud of.
I am somewhat in the loop with my part-time gigs. It’s not entirely the same, but I still get the opportunity to meet some outstanding and talented kids. All walks of life. I do remember a Williamsport football game this fall. Drae Lewis and I had the Webb Weekly call. I am always hyped to broadcast my beloved Millionaires. But that night, I was buzzing. GQ was in the house, boys and girls. Yes. My son is a tenor in the infamous all-male WAHS choir. Drae and I finished our pregame, and my transition was silky smooth. “Let’s pause now for the SINGING of the National Anthem.” It was a splendid performance. Jensen got some major TV time. I slipped our cameraman an extra $20 because Grandma was watching from California. But there was another who immediately caught my eye. A handsome football player. Decked out in his uniform. No helmet. Smiling and singing before his game. Say what? Zoom in Mike. “Hey Drae. That was fantastic. Well done, boys. Let’s also give some major props to #20 Senior Alonzo Rice. Kudos to you, kid. You made my night.” We would later mention his name whenever he made a tackle or had an impressive run. Alonzo instantly became my favorite player. What a stud.
“Alonzo joined our choral program as a senior and has become very active since the start of the year.” Maestro Samuel Robinson relayed. “He is a naturally gifted singer who is a model student for the young men in our groups. I appreciate Alonzo’s leadership and the mutual respect among his peers. His passion for music led him to perform with our select men’s ensemble (GQ) at the White House back in December. Alonzo also joined the cast of our high school musical, PIPPIN. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know and work with him this year. My only regret is that I didn’t find him sooner. One year isn’t enough with such a talented and kind young singer.”
Alonzo is built like a truck. He has a nice set of biceps and a healthy head of hair. I love his style. My man often wears a Metallica T-shirt and has a few tattoos. Alonzo has a great smile. He is so polite and very soft-spoken. Alonzo also plays basketball for the Millionaires. He is super tough, a solid defender, and rebounds extremely well. Alonzo does all of the intangibles, and he always plays hard. I always compliment him on his demeanor. My man never gets rattled. He understands his role. Alonzo is a great teammate. He often comes over to say hello before every home game. Again. Alonzo Rice is one cool cat. I guess we are chums now, and I enjoy introducing him to some of the long-time Williamsport fans. Alonzo always greets them with a smile and then heads back to the squad. When he leaves, I tell my friends about his musical talents. They are in awe. Don’t judge a book by its cover, kids.
“I always had a love for music,” Alonzo explained. “And over the past two years, I have been able to try new things. I am stepping out of my comfort zone. Like singing in the choir, playing guitar, and trying out for the school play. I am getting more confident in my abilities and trying to find a niche. I love Jimmy Hendrix. He is the man. But I have also learned to appreciate many other different artists.”
I came across a video of Alonzo and his guys performing at an open mic night at the Bullfrog. They covered ‘I Was Wrong” by Chris Stapleton. Alonzo had the lead vocals. His voice was quite impressive. He absolutely nailed the challenging song. I knew he was talented, but this little clip gave me goosebumps. I shared it with my bride and sent it to my rents. They were equally impressed. I still think I can beat him in HORSE, but I have no prayer in a karaoke contest.
“Alonzo Rice is the truest of leaders,” Head Football Coach Mike Pearson stated. “He truly sums up all of the best qualities of our school. Alonzo is smart, tough, enthusiastic, and wise. He is so talented in the areas of academics, building skills, the arts, and athletics. And then on top of that, Alonzo is strong and kind. He is an exceptional leader. A tremendous kid.”
Alonzo hopes to head south after graduation. He is looking at a few schools in Savannah, Georgia, to study construction management. I hope he continues with his music. Again. I am so proud of my friend for trying something new. Thinking outside the norm. Williamsport Area offers so much, and Alonzo Rice stepped up to take full advantage. Whether it is sports, choir, or theatre, my man is front and center. I have enjoyed getting to know him and follow his passions. What an impressive young man. You have to hear some of the covers. Fantastic stuff, kid. Keep doing your thing. Cheers.