Mason Wiley from Pine View has made the decision to play both football and basketball in his high school sports career. Why? “I love all the action that comes during the games,” he says.
Football and basketball rely heavily on teamwork and team unity to be successful. The Pine View Panthers strive to achieve team unity in every aspect of their practicing. “We run lots of drills. We lift in the morning for an hour each day before school starts. Once we are done with school, we watch film for an hour, then, depending on the heat, we practice for another 2.5 hours.”
Mason recalls his experience of when he scored his first touchdown. At the time, he was playing second-string tight end. “I didn’t play much because I was not first string, but Coach threw me in when we were at the five yard line. I ran my route and ended up tripping in the end zone, just as the quarterback was throwing the ball. As I was falling, I caught the ball and scored my first touchdown.” Beau, Mason’s father, shared that it looked as though Mason had dived for the ball, but Mason insisted, “No, I tripped.”
“He is really good at flipping the switch from being a nice kid off the field and being an aggressive kid on the field. He is passionate about his sports and succeeding with his team.” – Christian Justice Bratten
One thing that Mason appreciates about his coaches at Pine View is, “They have made it easy to spend time together as a team. The weight room at the school is nice too. We have couches and a flat screen there, and sometimes when we are done lifting we play Madden Football on the big screen. It helps us build team unity by lifting and workout out, and playing video games together.” Says Mason, “It’s about the team. Our coaches stress that all the time.”
Beau shared his feelings about his son’s relationship with all of his teammates. “It is so awesome to watch them play and grow up together. They are great guys.” Mason briefly explains the time span of his friendship with his team members. He says, “We’ve been playing together as a team since the 3rd and 4th grade. We are so close and get along so well. It makes playing that much more fun.”
Mason’s coaches teach their players more than just what takes place in-between the goal posts. “It’s cool because they really care about who we are. We see our coaches in the halls sometimes and they are always checking up on us.” Mason has learned that it is more than just about sports. “They make sure we are up on our grades, being good students, and always respecting girls and our teachers. They just want us to grow up to be good people, and think about others too.”
Mason recalls one of his coaches and mentors who greatly impacted his life, the late Pine View assistant basketball coach, Darin Walker. Mason remembers often hearing Walker repeat, “See you in the circle.” Mason continues, “He would tell us, even though he was in a wheel chair, that when we won state, he would meet us in center court and stand with us in the circle.” It would be a year after Walker’s passing that the Panthers would accomplish the goal of winning the State Championship. However, Mason says, “It will always stick with me. To give it your all in everything you do. I’ll see you in the circle.”
Taking what he has learned from his mentors, Mason uses his free time to help others. He began volunteering at the DOVE Center/Personal Safety Coalition. The program provides safe support, education, and advocacy for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Mason is the Red Man. His purpose is, while dressed in a red padded suit, to “attack” the personal safety course students in an effort to help assist them with practicing their self-defense training against abusers.
Looking back on his high school experience thus far, Mason knows he will miss it when it’s all over. “It’s kind of been an incredible experience for me. All the friends, the games, all the time just hanging out. I’m going to miss it for sure.” • HSSI