Posts Tagged ‘Habit for Humanity’

Coupeville sophomore Gavin Straub. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

When Gavin Straub looks at a football field, he sees beneath the surface.

The Coupeville High School sophomore watches the play develop, and appreciates its many moving parts all working together to create one outcome.

“There is an intellectual element to football I really enjoy,” Straub said. “You must make many split-second decisions that influence the success of the current play, and ultimately the success of the game.

“Then, there is the fact that many split-second decisions made by about a dozen other people must complement each other in order for a play to be successful,” he added. “Now, all those small decisions must be made to directly counteract the other team’s actions.

“It can get very complicated, and I enjoy that a lot.”

Of course, then there’s the chance to hit people, too.

“There is a certain physical element to football that few other sports offer,” Straub said. “Football is a great outlet for physical contact.

“To be honest, high school can generate lots of negative emotions. Well, after a rough day, BAM, you get to go hit some people,” he added. “Football is a therapy in a special way.”

Straub is in his first season with the CHS squad, but his fifth year overall.

He started playing flag football in first grade (“My friends were playing at the time, so I was naturally attracted to the sport”), then made the jump to tackle football after two seasons.

“I decided I wanted to hit some people.”

When he came to CHS, current teammate Dawson Houston reached out to him and encouraged Straub to sign up for high school football, something he took him up on this year.

Straub played baseball for the Wolves as a freshman and decided it was time to add another sport to his to-do list.

“I enjoy both sports equally,” he said. “Baseball has some unique challenges that I enjoy. These mostly include techniques such as batting, or catching a ball hit into the outfield.”

With football, there is the balance between thinking about the game and reacting, and finding a balance between the two.

“I believe I have a solid understanding of the intellectual and strategic elements of football. I also like to think I am good at coming up with solutions on the fly quickly,” Straub said. “Both of these abilities can be of great service to you out on the field.

“A lot of the areas I need to work on are simply physical fundamentals,” he added. “Especially since I have switched positions to receiver/linebacker, after I have been playing line for four years. I have a lot to learn.

“Having a good understanding of the strategic elements of football doesn’t help you when you have trouble simply catching a ball thrown to you.”

As he goes forward, Straub is intent on mastering the different parts of being a gridiron warrior, bringing his skills up to mesh with his intellectual capabilities.

“My goal for this season are to master the fundamentals of being a receiver and a linebacker, and become competent at both positions,” he said. “As for my goals for my high school football career, I eventually want to become a key player on the football team.”

When he’s not hard at work on the field, Straub, whose favorite movie is the Disney classic “Wall-E,” is busy letting his brain carry him on new adventures.

He enjoys computer programming, building electronics and robots, creating games and studying biology (“our class may get to genetically modify bacteria this year”), and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.

Straub, who wants to get an engineering degree, has been working on a robotic arm he built.

“I’m working on getting the arm to be autonomously controlled right now,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to build something that will change the world.”

As he’s progressed through school, Straub has benefited from having teachers who have made a positive impact on him, something he deeply appreciates.

“My 4th/5th grade math and English teacher, Ms. Sather, taught me how to enjoy a challenge, both inside and outside of school,” Straub said. “Ultimately, I enjoy learning because of her.

“Also, my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Stroh,” he added. “When I was in kindergarten, I really didn’t have the skills to survive in a school environment, without her working tirelessly with me both in and out of the classroom.”

Through everything — classwork, sports, and real-life adventures — Straub knows he has two people he can always rely on to have his back.

“Well, there’s my mom and dad, who gave me confidence,” he said. “Without them, I probably wouldn’t have the confidence to stand up for myself or deal with tough situations as they pop up.

“A more recent example is joining the CHS football team,” Straub added. “Without their guidance, I probably wouldn’t have the courage or the confidence to sign up for the team.”

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