• Joel Jackson

St. Mary Football Alumni Spotlight Brendan Parker

Brendan Parker was born into a family that has always had a long history in athletics, firefighting as well as St. Mary’s School and Church. The Parker family is threaded through the history of Woodstock with Brendan playing football with the St. Mary’s Fighting Irish and continuing his football career at Marian Central Catholic High School. In 1998 he followed the footsteps of multiple family members and went into Firefighting and is currently a Captain with the Woodstock Fire Department. Brendan sat down to answer some questions about football, fighting fires, faith and friendship…

Tell me about your youth football experience? “I started playing football at St. Mary's in 1987 and continued through 8th grade. Phil Church and Bob Brasile were the coaches. I remember Terry Stanger being around in 5th and 6th, but ended up following Dirk (Stanger) to Marian by the time I was in 7th and 8th. I was always the "tall guy" so I typically played tight end. I didn't excel at academics so sports were my arena where I had the best time.”

What do you consider your greatest sport accomplishment? “Receiving the Wally Parker award was my greatest accomplishment. Wally Parker was my grandpa and the custodian for St. Mary. He played on traveling football teams. The award honors those who display athletics through different sports (75%), Christianity (15%) and Scholastics (10%).”

What would you tell young kids about the importance of youth sports in general? “Youth sports are so important to learning about yourself. I believe it is the first time you are challenged to perform under pressure mentally and physically. You learn about working as a team. Don't ever be afraid to try a new sport.”

How do you think your experience in youth sports helped you in your firefighting career? “Firefighting is a team effort just like sports. Everyone has to participate and know their position/role in order to be successful. Firefighting gear is similar to wearing football gear in that you almost instantly start sweating and you typically have to perform in front of a crowd. There were many opportunities at being a leader during sports that helped me in my career. Lead by example is probably the best one I can think of. Watching and listening to the coaches inspire the players is another.”

What do you feel youth football provided you that was unique to other sports you played? “Youth football certainly helps you determine how tough you are and what athletic abilities you are blessed with. I hope it stays a full contact sport. Discipline and respect for your team mates, coaches and the other team are hidden values that are often missed.”

What do you miss, in general, about playing grade/high school sports? “I really enjoyed playing sports and have many great memories with those I was fortunate to play with. The comradery with the coaches and teammates and the excitement of making a great play are what I miss. In 8th grade, Todd McCoy was the quarterback and I was the center because I weighed to much (Red Stripe) which always makes me laugh especially when you look at me now.”

#Alumni #StMaryYouthFootball

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