Freshman makes up for height with heart on the field

Nicolet Danese

Although he’s 4’ 10”, freshmen Zachary Burke brings dedication and hard work to the Junior Varsity Football team

 

Freshman Zachary Burke compliments his 4” 10’ stature with a smile at JV football practice. Photo by Dickson Tsai.

Freshmen Zachary Burke tried out for the football team with no prior history of competitive football. His experience was limited to throwing a football around since the age of eight. Wanting to impact MVHS in a positive way during his first couple of high school months, Burke tried out for the football team. Standing only 4'10" Burke may not be the tallest player on the field, but he makes up for height with heart, dedication and determination.

Being the “ small guy” on the team, Burke often has to deal with occasional jokes about his height. On a more technical level, his height often means he must push harder to keep up with his taller teammates. However, Burke’s stature does pose certain advantages.

Junior varsity captain sophomore Peter Stern said, “Height doesn’t matter that much in football as long as he can commit himself. He brings heart to the team. [Burke] is always out there to have fun and trying his best,“ Stern said, “He gets excited and fills the team with energy that makes us all want to do better.”

Weighing 92 pounds, Burke may not be able to tackle others as easily as his teammates, but his heigh gets him noticed on and off the field.

“Since I’m smaller, I’m more agile, and people don’t always see me coming, “ said Burke.

His teammates have nicknamed “Rudy”after a Notre Dame football player who surprised his team with a giant tackle during the last game of the season. And, even though they occasionally lock him out of the locker room, it’s all out of fun. Burke continues to surprise his teammates each practice with how much effort and dedication he puts into the sport.

“ [Burke]does get a lot of jokes [about his height], but the thing is he doesn’t take them seriously and laughs it off,” said Stern.“It makes practice that much more amusing, which is awesome.”

Walking on the field with a smile on his face almost everyday, Burke’s season goal is to be a better player than he was when he started.

“I just like being with my friends, playing football and even getting hit,” said Burke.

Heart and hard work can get you a long way.