Open Doors & Opportunities

At the end of the first week of Spring practices, we requested to have the following statement included in our school’s morning announcements, and the message was heard loud and clear:

“The football coaching staff would like to invite you to spring football practice. We will be teaching the basics of football in the fieldhouse Monday through Thursday next week from 3:45 to 6:00pm. These practices are open to all St. Johnsbury Academy students. We look forward to you joining us.

As I’ve noted in previous posts, we recognize our team and staff are parts of a larger student body, faculty, campus, and ultimately a community. We’ve enjoyed extraordinary support in the pursuit of our goals, and we intentionally made such an announcement to further extend opportunities for others’ participation.

Aubriella Holden (left) and Lily Chase (Right) are two courageous Hilltoppers who rose to the challenge of Spring Ball.

On the Monday morning of week 2 of Spring Ball, I met with one of our physical education instructors who informed me that his daughter, Aubriella, was joining us for football practice.  He followed by saying, “she loves football and wants to learn more about the game.”  That afternoon, as I walked down the hallway towards our fieldhouse, I came across Aubriella and her friend Lilly, nervously waiting for me. They confessed they were a little afraid to enter.  I acted as if there was nothing to be afraid of but fully recognized how brave these two freshmen girls must be to join a football team.  

During the week, they played a variety of different positions learning the skills and techniques associated with each position group ranging from Quarterback to Defensive Line.   At the end of the week, they informed me that they had fun but realized that playing tackle football in the Fall was not for them.  When I spoke with Aubriella’s father, he told me that he overheard Aubriella and Lilly saying how welcomed they felt at practice and how nice all the guys were to them.  

As I have stated in previous blogs, girls are the future of the game of football.  Girls, like Aubriella and Lilly, who love football, will someday become moms who allow (and hopefully encourage) their children to play this wonderful game, and those children will benefit in the myriad ways we see its lessons and experiences resonate throughout lifetimes.  

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time! 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s