What is your favorite part about being a physical education teacher at PHS?
Being able to expose people to different things they might not have known about themselves. I try to take people out of their comfort zone. Just because you’re a good soccer player, football player, wrestler, etc., you may not be as good at some other sports. I think it’s good to see people out of their comfort zones, and give them an opportunity to perform and try to participate doing something that they aren’t as good at. It’s great to have them work with other people as well, creating a team atmosphere, to expand. In the future, you won’t always be able to stay in your niche group; you are going to have to work with all types of people. I think that PE best represents that. PE isn’t set up on a class level. You can have AP students, people from the whole spectrum of the school, and they are put in a melting pot, and you have to get the students to work together, cohesively.
Do you have a favorite sport? If so, why?
Wrestling is definitely my favorite sport. I feel that wrestling takes so much of yourself, that it fills a lot of character. A lot of sports have this too, but I have a special place [in my heart] for wrestling. I think wrestling is the toughest sport that you can do. You need to be a special person to do it; not everyone can wrestle … That’s why wrestling doesn’t have the amount of people rushing to come and participate, as a lot of other sports do. People already know that [wrestling] is hard, so for someone to come out and be on the team, I think it says a lot about a person.
When you teach or coach, what approach do you use with your students or players?
Everything is geared towards helping them reach their full potential. That is the goal. Everyone who comes out for the wrestling program, or the track program, everyone who practices, and works out, just because you come everyday, does not mean you will be state champions. However, if you do complete all the prerequisites that [are] required of being a champion, that means that at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, you did all you could do to get the best out of what you have. If you do that, then you have won. It doesn’t matter what the score or the outcome says. It doesn’t matter if you are last place, or the highest on the leaderboard, or if you didn’t even qualify. Everything is in your power, if you can manage to give it your all, then you have won. You cannot fail if you try your hardest, even if you’re not the best in the state, county, school, etc. You are a success because you tried your absolute best.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Honestly, my biggest inspirations—I can’t only chose one—would be my high school wrestling coach, Sam Fusaro … Then we have my older brother, Jermaine; he was huge, because he was a major athlete in high school, college, and even after college as well. And finally, probably the biggest influence is my dad. He’s a boxing trainer. He’s trained a couple of world champion boxers, so I know that he put that mental toughness and work ethic into me at a very young age.
How do you think this approach can help your students and players in the future?
It takes effort to become successful at anything. To be a good friend, it takes effort. To be a good student, it takes effort. You need to read your assignments; you have to do your homework. To be a great dad, to be a great husband, everything, it all takes effort. Nothing worth getting and nothing worth keeping is ever easy. It takes that championship effort to really be successful at most things in life.