North welcomes new football coach

Grayslake North welcomes new head varsity coach, Sam Baker, to the family. Coming all the way from Minnesota, Baker has always dreamed of becoming a football coach. “I had always wanted to become a football coach. One of my biggest influences to even become one was from my college football coach,” Baker said. Two of his players, Nick Wilson and Virgil Cannon, agree that good leadership can influence the dynamic of the team, and that it’s an important factor. “[Good leadership] motivates me more to become the best athlete I can be. Also, that it creates positive energy within the team to bring us to full potential,” Cannon said.  Positive energy is the best attitude players can have when it comes to playing on the varsity level.  “There are endless lessons that you can learn from football, how to overcome adversity, persevere, and be better students,” Baker said. On the varsity team, goals are being made on and off the field in every aspect, as people, students, and players. He is helping players become better role models, just by playing the sport. “I can be a model football player by applying the life skills I learn on the field to the classroom and try my best to set a good example for everyone around me,” Wilson said. However, it does not  matter when or where, there are various moments throughout the season for the varsity players to be there for one another to persevere through anything. “When a player is down for whatever reason it is, he can possibly affect the team and bring it down. It is the brotherhood and bond that we create to not let a teammate fall in the time in need. We will always be there for each other and always have each other’s back. Staying positive is the most important factor,” Cannon said. Baker knows that the varsity team will take those who are willing to try and dedicate to earn a spot on the team. “It takes trust from everyone, commitment to stand out in the crowd, weight room, and classroom to excel in varsity,” Baker said. Though the expectations are high for their players, they do not get discouraged or pressured. They even look forward to practice and playing. “I look forward to practice. I’m not going to lie, there are some days where I am not in the mood and do not feel like practicing, but once I change my mindset, practice is a great time,”  Cannon said.  In the end, all of team believes it’s worth every sweat, breath, and practice in order to play the sport they love endlessly.  “Football means everything to me. I have been playing since I was little, and my goals is to continue with it into college. I have created so many bonds, friendships, and memories with the boys on my team. Without football in my life, I do not know what I would be doing,” Cannon said.