Football team comes together to support teammate

Players conduct fundraisers to help victim of shooting

Football+varsity+assistant+Rob+Griffin+meets+with+the+players+Nov.+11.+The+team+came+together+to+support+their+teammate+in+a+time+of+need.

Ava Ashby

Football varsity assistant Rob Griffin meets with the players Nov. 11. The team came together to support their teammate in a time of need.

By Tobias Khabie, St. Louis Park High School

After hearing a fellow player was involved in a shooting, the football team pulled together to support their teammate. According to junior captain Christian Arteaga, the team jumped into action and prepared a care package for their “brother.”

“After we heard what happened, our coach texted all the captains, including me, giving the idea to put together this little care package for him,” Arteaga said. “We got everything from money donations to Venmo payments. We also got some grocery store gift cards so that his family could go out and use those whenever they needed. We all came together as a team to provide for our brother who was not in the best of times.”

Sophomore Zach Johnson said the entire team contributed to help the sophomore, who Echo is not naming because he was a victim of a crime.

“Everybody instantly posted on their stories for people to start praying for him because everybody was not sure if he was okay or not,” Johnson said. “People were worried for him.”

If one of us is down, everybody else as a family, we’re going to pick them up.”

— Christian Arteaga

Senior captain Michael Boxley, who organized the fundraisers, felt as if it was an obligation for him and the team to come together to support their teammate.

“I’d want to be taken care of, if I was in that situation, by my teammates because it’s a brotherhood, it’s like a family,” Boxley said.

According to Johnson, Boxley was the first person to come up with the idea of raising funds, and the idea was well-received by the team. A GoFundMe account was opened to the team and families of the players, and Boxley received donations from the public via his Venmo account, @Michael-Boxley-1. As of Dec.15, he has received $155 in donations.

Boxley attributed the unity of the team to the bonds they formed as a result of distance learning. As players were limited to only seeing each other, their relationships strengthened.

“This year because we weren’t able to be in school, we really bonded on the field,” Boxley said. “Because we are distanced from the world, it is easier to get along with your teammates.”

Arteaga said the camaraderie of the players showed up when their teammate needed them.

“We have so many different backgrounds of people, but while playing we spend so much time together and eventually we get to create this brotherhood,” Arteaga said. “We can come together as something beyond teammates, as brothers, when one is in need of help. If one of us is down, everybody else as a family, we’re going to pick them up.”

This story was originally published on The Echo on December 31, 2020.