At Park Ridge Football & Cheer, the 4 main pillars which we base everything we do are fun, safety, skill development and education. In order to further emphasize the importance of education to our players, parents and our community, we have created a Park Ridge Football Scholarship Award Program. The award is presented to a High School Senior that played at least one year in our program as a youth and exemplified good sportsmanship/citizenship both then and throughout their High School Career. Other criteria include good grades and submitting a written essay. The 2019 winning essay below was written by Danny Locascio. We wish Danny continued success at Dartmouth College.

From Flag Football to Maine South Varsity Captain

Football has helped define what I am. The life lessons that I have derived from the sport have turned me into the man I am today. Ever since I stepped onto the field during flag football as a Purdue Boilermaker, I have fallen in love with not only playing the game, but also with the many benefits that come along with it.

Being a part of several football teams has taught me the value of being a leader. There is a quote from Vince Lombardi that says, “The strength of the group is the strength of the leaders.” The attitude of a team reflects the individuals that are leading the whole. As a Varsity captain, I have learned the importance of coming to practice every day with enthusiasm and excitement to work because the team will reflect that. To be a leader is often challenging; the year is full of ups and downs for yourself. However, being a leader is bigger than yourself, it is about the team that you call your own. This is a lesson I will bring with me for the rest of my life. In all of my years growing up, many people have told me that I am a natural born leader. I disagree; football has taught me how to be a leader, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Important Football Lessons

Playing football has also taught me how to be a good person. There are small lessons in the game that teach you to do the right thing. Be relentless in your pursuit of victory, but always show respect for your opponent in the end. Play the entirety of the game, no matter what the score is, and never give up. Work hard, but remember to have fun. Playing such an intense sport from a young age has been extremely formative for me. Each and every one of my coaches have taught me lessons I will never forget. I know that I will be a purposeful and upstanding individual in my adult life because of those lessons.

All of these lessons have carried over into my academics and other extracurricular activities. Football has been a huge part of my life; however, I have been very involved in many other activities and service. I have carried my leadership into all I do outside of football while always making academics my priority.

Football and Friendships

There is so much to be thankful for when I think about what football has done for me, but the aspect I am most thankful for is friendship. I met my best friends playing the game that I absolutely love. Today, they are still my best friends. To be able to walk up for a coin toss on our home opener against Mount Carmel this year with Ryan Kilburg and Liam Barry is something that I will never forget. I went to preschool with both of those guys, and we used to dream about the day we would be playing Maine South Football. Nothing solidifies a friendship like battling through adversity together, and football has done that for me.

The success of the Park Ridge Football program is evident in its individual achievements, as well as in those of Maine South, because it feeds players into the strongest program in the state. The success is great, but the thing I will miss most about going to practice each and every day is the laughs and conversations with my best friends.  That is what I will remember for the rest of my life.

Park Ridge football has done more for me than anyone will know. I could not be more thankful for the opportunities that it has given me, and all the fun I had along the way. Thank you for considering me for this scholarship, but, more importantly, thank you for giving your time to help me become who I am by allowing me to play the game of football.

Danny Locascio