Football in the south is passion; here in Texas, football is more than passion. Quite often when you take a competition with so much passion and mix in the human element, things can happen.
In the pros, you often hear about players taking performance enhancing drugs. You may have heard of several high profile college athletes accepting money from professional agents. You hear the occasional story of high caliber high school recruits often receiving improper benefits a violation of NCAA rules.
You may have even heard of two Pearland, Texas little league teams making the news, when a brawl broke out on the field between opposing coaches resulting from several coaches being banned from the league and both teams losing their playoff eligibility.
With so much negativity involved with Football, the good still outweighs the bad on any given day. Little league football is still the most purist form of the sport: It’s all about the kids and these kids are not playing for fame, money, benefits or to gain any kind of lucrative offers—they play because they love the game.
Nestled down in the quaint suburban town of League City, Texas you will find the home of the League City Wildcats. They participate in the Bay Area Football League, the same league with the two Pearland teams that were mentioned previously. The Wildcats have a young man on their team named Triston Walker, who embodies what this sport is all about.
Triston is more than just your typical fourth grader, he also plays little league football. But he believes the sports stands for something and pours everything he has into this sport. “He’s a great kid, plays with honor. An aggressive, smash mouth style but never dirty.” Triston’s coach, Dean Dorman said.
His biggest supporters are parents Ronnie and Lisa Frugia. Triston’s dad Ronnie also coaches special teams and his mom regularly attends to lend her support on and off the field.
“Ever since he was born, all that boy did was run, he loves to run.” Said Lisa Frugia. Triston’s dad Ronnie says “Triston works hard and does whatever is asked of him.”
On the field, the Wildcats employ a Power I rushing attack mixed with a little spread on offense, while manning a 5-3 and a little 4-4 on defense. Triston plays both offense and defense for the wildcats. He has lined up all over the field playing center, guard and tackle on offense.
“On offense, my job is to block and make sure nobody gets to the quarterback.” Triston said.
On defense, Triston lines up at end and linebacker most often but has even seen time at safety recording an interception his first time playing safety.
“On defense I stay on the outside and contain to make sure nobody gets passed me.” Said Triston.
Triston is not as big as most of the other players—he faces at 4’6” and about 86 pounds—but he plays with a big heart that puts him up to about 6 feet tall.
When asked what it was like to play against players a lot bigger than him, Triston replied, “When I see them I get a little nervous, but when I see how easy it is to knock them down I feel better”.
Triston wakes up at 7:00am every morning to get ready for school; he goes to school all week, with practice days on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays with game days set on Saturday at 10:30am.
Triston still manages to make straight A’s in school and says football is “Exciting but sometimes challenging”. One of his favorite things about football is he says with the stress that school brings, football allows him to relieve his stresses.
Triston is an intelligent, hard working 11 year old who understands what this game is really about—fun. He loves to go out and have fun. He wakes up every Saturday in his words “Excited and pumped.”
When the Wildcats win, Triston says he feels “ecstatic;” when they lose, “I feel a little down, but try and keep my head up.”
Triston’s best friend Evan also plays on the team. He is the team’s tight end and corner back. They love the fact that they get to play together.
Taking a lead from the NFL, the Wildcats are also wearing pink this month in honor of breast cancer awareness month. Every player on the team is wearing pink socks; some of the players have added their own pink accessories such as pink shoe laces or helmet stickers.
When asked about the team wearing pink for breast cancer awareness, Triston replied, “I think it will help society better understand the importance of breast cancer awareness.” Not words often heard from the mouth of a fourth grader.
Triston believes that his coaches work hard and prepare them well for each outing: “They have done everything they can to help us play our best and have good sportsmanship.”
Further proving that there is plenty of good in a sport that can have such a negative spin on things.
The bottom line is this 11 year old boy embodies everything this sport should be about: honor, integrity and sportsmanship.
He loves the game, loves to win but most of all, loves to have fun.