The bond of Red Raider brotherhood

Photo by: Alyssa Filkins (www.alyssafilkins.com)
Photo by: Alyssa Filkins (www.alyssafilkins.com)
Alyssa Filkins

Brotherhoods do not just happen, instead they are built on fundamentals, such as trust, honesty, and dedication. From years of hard work and commitment, the Red Raider football players have successfully been able to form a bond that does not come so easily to some. As the saying goes, “nothing lasts forever.” Indeed all  good things must come to an end. This year we say goodbye to some of our players that have been blessed enough to experience the brotherhood bond that the Red Raider football team brings. However, they do not plan on just walking away without sharing how being a Red Raider football player has impacted their life majorly.

Senior Camden Smith, quarterback for the Red Raiders, has not only been known for his true dedication to the sport, but the impact he has on his teammates. In his interview he comments, “Give 100% everyday. Practice. Everything.” Smith’s consistency with dedicating himself to the Red Raiders shows throughout each game, and the bonds he formed throughout his tenure with the Raiders proves to make a great impact. Not only is he a dedicated teammate, he also has morals that he carries into each game by not only praying for himself but his teammates as well. “I always pray against the goal post before every game,” he explains. Smith continues on to talk about one of his biggest supporters, his brother: “I know he’ll be there for me if I ever need something.” He then claims that football has not only brought them [he and his brother] closer together as people, but has also deepened their relationship as brothers. The bonds that this team has built, has not only impacted each player on the field, mentally and physically, but the others around them as well. Smith then comments that the brotherhood is what he will miss the most, which is why he will aim to keep these memories alive within not only himself, but the team as a whole. 

Starting from the ground up, Zakhari Shiflet, full back for the Red Raiders, has put in the work to make it where he is today. Reaching his last year of high school, he has learned fully what being a student athlete is, and has grown with the team tremendously. “Just remember you are a student athlete first. Student athlete, grades come first, and you have to make sure that your grades are good before even stepping on the football field. Because if you don’t get good grades, there really is no reason for you to be playing football. Football is a reward to be able to play,” stated Shiflet. While continuing to balance these two areas of his life, Shiflet gets his support for football within both his family and his teammates. Shiflet comments that when a play goes wrong he does not focus on that one play, but the game altogether. Additionally he always keeps in mind his motto: work hard, play hard. Shiflet is excited for what his future holds, and he later goes on to explain how it has never been just one person working by himself; it is always the team working together. He explains that though he will miss playing football in general, the brotherhood is what he will miss the most overall: “My teammates have always been there for me, so brotherhood is what I’ll miss the most.” Though he will also miss the sport, the bond that he shared with his teammates and his coaches will be an unforgettable bond that will take longer to forget.

Braxton Waller, defensive tackle for the Red Raiders,  has been known not only for the impact he makes on his teammates, but also for the impact he has on others in his life. From the age of seven, Waller has been playing football, and it was all for a purpose: “My mother. She’s my supporter. She’s my inspiration…” Waller goes on to explain that if it was not for his mother encouraging him to play football for the majority of his life, then he would have never been able to experience the brotherhood bond that most only dream of having. When asked what he would miss most about football in general, he knew the answer and did not hesitate. Waller explained how he would miss the team, but overall the comfort it brings to him and others: “My brotherhood. My family. My friends. I see them everyday…” So from four years of reveling in the bond of brotherhood from the Red Raiders, it is finally time for him to move on and find a different bond, but he does not plan on leaving without carrying the memories with him. He admits that the team has changed him overall, and that it has made him a different person and he plans on using the skills and lessons he has learned throughout his high school football career, to carry with him for the rest of his life.

From the challenges that each of our players have faced, they have all had a brotherhood supporting them. Throughout this brotherhood each of these players — Camden, Zakhari, and Braxton — have won player of the week, and have supported each other whether it has been a personal problem at home or a bad play or practice. Furthermore they plan on keeping it that way for as long as possible, even after they leave high school. Though they may be leaving the Read Raider football team, they at least have the chance to experience the brotherhood and bond they deserve and get to carry the memories they not only made with their teammates, but their “brothers.” 

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