Posts tagged ‘Hinsdale Central Football’

The lessons I learned from Football

From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, August 30, 2018

It’s been a long six months since we saw the last snap taken in Super Bowl 52, when Tom Brady threw that perfect but unsuccessful “Hail Mary” pass to Rob Gronkowski, and into a sea of Eagles hands.

When your kids lay down their fortnight joysticks for their fantasy draft kit, it must be getting closer to fall football – thank goodness, football is finally here!

Hinsdale Central has already played (and won) their first game. The local youth tackle football organization, Hinsdale Falcons, has been practicing for a month now, and also played their first games last weekend.

I have a lot of great memories playing football as a kid.

But the game has changed since I was younger, with rules aimed at player safety. And it certainly has challenges to overcome to keep current, and to convince parents to allow their kids to play.

Yet I know that some of the greatest lessons that have stayed with me throughout my life came from playing football. With all the talk about when younger children should begin to play football (or if at all), I became motivated to jot down and share some of these lessons that I hope my children will take away from the game.

  1. Be yourself. Be the best you can be, but don’t be someone you are not. No one likes a fake. Football exposes fakes and helps kids to find the talent within themselves to help contribute their true self to the team. The position always finds the player, not the other way around. It’s a hard game that demands one to play for the team, not the individual. By being yourself, you become a leader and who you are supposed to be.
  2. Winning is really important, but not at all cost. Don’t cheat; Don’t take shortcuts. Earn what you have. Abide by the rules. I remember vividly my College coach at Indiana, Bill Mallory, making this point in a Sunday night team meeting after a good victory the day before. Coach didn’t like that several players were out past curfew during the school week, so he made it clear by calling out every one of the offenders. Some got a little shaken up (quite literally too) during his rampage. We knew that even the most talented would go home if they broke that rule again. I know to this day that every impressionable young man on the team remembers that night – we referred to it as “Black Sunday”.
  3. Hard work pays off. It starts with attitude -no excuses. I’ve been part of organizations where victories come easy, but they are more meaningful when they require hard work. It’s a telling sign to see boys crying after a game – won or lost – the tears are the evidence of their hard work, their effort and sometimes, the sacrifice that was put into preparation.  
  4. Be loyal. Trust your teammates; build a bond of brothers who will fight for each other in a foxhole. Keep promises; be accountable. Football is a game of trust. Every player has an important part in every single down. If everyone wins their assignment, the play is successful. If one player breaks down, the play could be disastrous. The strong bond of friendship that is forged through teamwork last a lifetime.
  5. Perseverance. Mental toughness, focus, determination and confidence are often developed through difficulties, negative circumstances and obstacles that play out in the game of football. Having perseverance is one of the greatest life lessons we can teach our children.

This is my fourth year coaching Hinsdale Falcons Football, and the last three years, I’ve had two teams, so I could coach both of my boys.

I wanted every opportunity to be alongside them to help teach the important lessons I had the privilege to learn. This year my oldest son is starting defensive end for the freshman team at Hinsdale Central.

It was a long six month without football, but we’re glad it’s back.


Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents, or maybe a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.

Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 28 years and his office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at 630-325-2800 or visit his website at


Noah #28 – Hinsdale Falcons


Micah's touchdown 4

Micah’s first touchdown came from a quarterback sack and scoop six on 9/3/18!

Micah DE

Their biggest fan – Abbey

#72 with my dad/coach, circa 1975 North Eastwood Falcons, Indianapolis

When I think of Football “Talk Of The Town”

When I Think of Football

One of the greatest pressures on high school students these days is the pressure to be fashionable. Wanting to be cool is a very compelling motive for teens, and that phenomenon extends to the football field, where even style is competitive. At schools around here, the place where style and sports meet is the football helmet.

One Downers Grove North football player, Cole, was recently trying to decide whether to use his hard-earned money to purchase a new helmet. He knew that a new helmet would be well-received by his teammates. Although the concussion issue played some role (so many parents have been on high alert lately that any new product claiming to lower the risk of serious head injury might be a good investment), he knew that he probably didn’t need one; he just wanted one.

Cole was still feeling a little conflicted about the decision when his mom heard a helmet was going to be delivered to their house. But this helmet wasn’t like the one Cole had been considering. It wasn’t a particularly popular helmet; in fact, it was a bit of a relic. It wasn’t a new, fashionable one that would catapult him into the in-crowd … but it was special. Indeed, this particular helmet held special significance even for me.

After graduating college, I arrived in Chicago for my first job: coaching football and track and field at Hinsdale Central High School. In my mind, it was sort of a stepping stone in finding my way to play three more seasons of my chosen sport.

In those days, the head coach and athletic director at Hinsdale Central was Gene Strode. Coach Strode put me in with the sophomores and under the wing of a big man: Bill Huskisson. Bill and I became fast buddies, finding time between practices to work out and push the limits of the weights that the gym had accumulated. Because I was the new man on campus, Bill (or “Husk,” as we called him) had to show me how it was done. Of course, he knew how it was done; in his day, Husk was a two-time All-Conference at Hinsdale Central. He was an All-American at Western Illinois, he had earned a place in the Athletics Hall of Fame and he had several touches as a pro.

In the gym that year, Husk and I spent hours upon hours training together. But what I eventually found out is that we weren’t just gym partners. He was actually coaching me … both as an athlete and as a man.

Husk was a champion for people. Many knew him for his passion for the underdogs and the children who required a little more help. He wasn’t flashy, and he didn’t buy into trying to be popular (although thanks to his kind demeanor, he certainly was). He was a gentle giant with a big heart.

Bill and I became exceedingly close; probably closer than people usually get. Toward the end of his life, Bill and two other of my close friends formed a tight cord. It was a bond of Christian fellowship that turned into a lifeline for all of us.

Bill fought cancer for several years until his death in 2006. But to this day, when I think of football, I always think about my friend Husk.

As for the helmet delivered to Cole’s house: that helmet sat on the desk of a coach of the Chicago Fire football team for years. It was a fixture in his family’s home until someone noticed a piece of tape on the inside with a name on it. The name: “Bill Huskisson.”

Bill’s twins, Cole and Brock, have always wanted their father to speak to them after his death. This time, Cole heard his dad’s voice loud and clear. The money Cole had saved would not go to a fashionable new helmet. He decided that the one that his school team had provided would be fine, because he knew that’s what his dad would have done.

There are a lot of big men in football. But Husk wasn’t just a big man … he was a legend.

“It’s a great day to be a Red Devil!”

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at 630-325-2800 or visit his website at


Mike Stevens, Bill Huskisson, Mike McCurry

Mike Stevens, Bill Huskisson, Mike McCurry

Bill Huskisson

Bill Huskisson

Bill Huskisson

Bill Huskisson