Letter to the Editor | Varsity football is too valuable to abandon

We write to express our concerns about the future of the Piedmont High School’s Football Program. We understand that the Piedmont High School administration held a parent meeting on January 10, 2022 to discuss dropping the Varsity football team for the 2022 season. As students and players, we were not invited to participate in this important discussion about the future of the Varsity football program at Piedmont High School and want our opinion on the record before any final decisions are made.

As PHS athletes, we are grateful for the support of parents and administrators who made sure PHS sports navigated the challenges and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. For those of us who are rising seniors and juniors, our commitment to our school, our sport, our coaches, and our teammates never wavered as we faced a different pandemic challenge each season.

We stuck together and stuck it out for the benefit of the entire PHS athletic program, the tradition of Piedmont football, the camaraderie, and for a sense of community during these turbulent times. Friday night Varsity football games gave the entire Piedmont community –- students, parents, teachers, band, pep squad, and residents –something to look forward to when many other venues remained closed.

Many of us have lived in this community our entire lives and played at all grade levels of Piedmont sports. It would be easy to say we want to continue playing as a Varsity squad next year just because of what it means for our high school accolades and our college applications. Nothing could be further from the truth. Win or lose, we want to play as a Varsity squad because of the values we learned during our years with the program: hard work, commitment, perseverance, trust, teamwork, leadership, and sportsmanship.

On January 10, PHS surprised everyone with the possible cancellation of the Varsity team. We want the PHS Administration and our community to know there is great support for our program. The 19 undersigned returning, or new student athletes have already committed or expressed interest to play Varsity football in Fall 2022. This is before any of the traditional spring recruiting efforts have taken place.

We ask that the PHS administration, Athletics department, and the entire parent community honor the values we learned through participating in Piedmont sports and support us playing Varsity football for Piedmont High School in 2022.

Class of 2023

Bailey Cain, Bautista Costa, Matteo Costa, Marcos Filho, Aidan Hickman, Ryan McConathy, Jack Nelson, Marek Wilk, Matthew Lee, Sonny Brennan, Liam Campbell, Justin Kerwin

Class of 2024

Derek Schleuning, Emmett Maxwell, Dimitri Papahadjopoulos, Keita Clear, Bodhi Bloemker, Arjun Bornstein, Dom Alexandre

5 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor | Varsity football is too valuable to abandon

  1. The PHS administration and Athletic Director need to fix this.
    The Piedmont Football program is too valuable on and off the field.
    In support,
    Natalie Williamson,
    Football parent 2014-2019
    PHS Parent Club Board member
    PHS Booster’s member

  2. I’m Wilson Wong, co-student conductor of the PHS Pep Band and PHS student. Piedmont Football is a long lived and necessary part of the culture here on our campus. All three of my older sisters all had their varsity football teams and it would just feel wrong to let such a quintessential part of our school fizzle away from the pandemic. Every game is an event of unity and a place for our school to be together against a collective “enemy”. But more importantly, these Friday night football games bring the best out of everyone. So many people have had their lives changed by this sport. One good friend who went from running circles to running routes, found his drive and competitive spirit I hadn’t seen in him before. I would also wait for one of my best friend’s after every home game; few times were they filled with joy, some nights were fully of pain and headache, some games even tears, but never was there a day that he wanted to quit. The football program builds character and grit in the students that choose to participate.
    And what happens on the field isn’t even half the story. The stands are a place for all the fun, drama, and life of the school thrived.
    During my freshman year everything felt new and whatever my first experiences were, were going to mold the future of my high school experience. I still remember the first home football game of 2019 where I would play in the pep band for the first time. The lights on the field, the loud noises, and energy were a spectacle to behold. I expected playing in the band to be scary and time consuming. But through those first experiences I got to see my band conductor Thomas Yu lead us into a battle against the crowd. I learned to yell loud and play music even louder. It was on that night that I learned what true confidence was and what it meant to be a leader. It was through these football games that I remembered why I fell in love with music in the first place. These events were a gig for us to play songs for the people to enjoy and to be together in the moment. And I never thought I could be like Thomas, but these games gave me the opportunity to prove myself and inspire the students coming into the high school music program for the first time.
    Without these high intensity football events, that would have never happened; these games are an integral part of the symphonic & pep band program.
    Without this team we would be losing a lot more than just a team. We would lose school participation, concession stand fundraising for other sports, and so much more.

  3. Hello, my name is Marcos Filho and I am a student at Piemonte High School and a football player. I started playing football in Piedmont when I was in my second year. I had ups and downs trying to learn football. Even so, I never thought about giving up because I wanted to learn football and I knew that learning football would be a challenge. A challenge that would change my life and it did. Football has changed my life in many ways, for example depression. I was depressed and thanks to football, friends and coaches I felt better. In my freshman year our varsity football team had ups and downs and even though we never thought about giving up any of our practices or games and not having a varsity team will make us students feel unhappy. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Win or lose, we want to play as a Varsity squad because of the values we learned during our years with the program: hard work, commitment, perseverance, trust, teamwork, leadership, and sportsmanship.” FOOTBALL IS LIFE…!


    Marcos F.

  4. The elephant in the room is the concern with TBI, It was my understanding that there were 9 returning upper class men for PHS football. Concussions and the more serious traumatic brain injury by and large occurs in football. It seems reasonable that parents would be hesitant to sign their kids up to play this sport. During the last decade football programs in California have seen a 13% drop in participation. CIF saw a 1.69 % drop during the 2019/2020 season. Football athletes have historically had some great crossover in track and field. From sprinters, hurdlers and even throws, track offers something for everyone. Just a thought for these displaced athletes.

    • Ok, but the fact of the matter is that the people playing football love the sport, simply telling them they cant play and should just run track doesnt fix anyones problems. Likely if the program gets canceled the football players will join a program at another public school like Oakland Tech. Concussions have also not been a huge issue in the football program compared to other sports like soccer and basketball which have had concussions in the past.

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