The motto of the Maroons football team this year is “BE UNCOMMON.” The quote indicates the way athletes should think about their team and sports: since success is uncommon, the team has to be uncommon with an exceptional amount of effort to enjoy it at the end of the year. Joe Grasso, a captain of the team, represents the quote by showing his relentless effort on and off the field. He said “I am a captain and it is an honor. I try to lead by example of how I play. I try going 100% all the time and have my teammates follow me.” RHS High Times had an opportunity to interview Joe and learn more about the team and his love for the sport.
The Maroons are enjoying a great season with a 6 – 2 record and celebrated the first win in the playoffs after coach Johnson’s comeback with the score of 34 – 0 on November 5th. Grasso shares about the team’s goal: “We have a great opportunity to compete at Metlife as we got the 2 seed of the bracket.” Even if the final goal is to win at the Metlife, it is also important how the Maroons are getting there. The Maroons are having a great season record regardless of how tough their season is scheduled. Grasso commented: “this year’s schedule may be the toughest schedule that Ridgewood had in its history.” When asked about the most exciting game, Grasso commented: “The most exciting game of the year so far was the Ramapo (No.5 in the state at the time) game at home. The energy from the crowd was crazy and the game as a whole was insane.”
To have a successful season, good team chemistry is necessary. Grasso commented his excitement to have the access to the locker room which was not allowed last year due to the COVID outbreak: “Our team chemistry is off the charts. Having the locker room back is the best thing ever. We have so much fun together and personally this is the most fun I’ve had playing football ever. This is a special group of guys and brothers for life”. He emphasized the importance of a secure place where the team can gather and create a bond beyond friendship to work as the Maroons family. He also shared about his pre-game routine. He said: “I always drive my boys Andrew and Jay to the game and we bump Old English in the car before going in. Then I put my own music on and get locked in. Then I get taped and stuff. Then I pace around the locker room and school thinking about the game and getting ready”.
Joe is happy to continue athletics after high school at Franklin & Marshall College in two sports: football and baseball. He said: “I don’t think I have even come close to my full potential. I’m excited to see personally where I can get to especially as I get older. I’m super excited to be able to compete at the next level playing the sports I love. I’m hopeful that myself and my team in college will be successful and able to compete for the best bowl games”.
The Ridgewood community is looking forward to watching Joe’s performance in high school as well as in college. To give a piece of advice for young athletes, Joe added “Do as many sports you can and enjoy every second of high school because it goes by quickly and you don’t want any regrets.”
Graphic: Edward Sohn