Hollywood helps save Virginia high school football

Brian Tinsman
September 06, 2018 - 9:33 pm
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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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Varsity football at Loudoun County's Park View High School is getting a boost from a seemingly unlikely source: actress Hilarie Burton, of Total Request Live, Dawson's Creek and One Tree Hill fame.

Announced this week at the school's pep rally, Burton is teaming up with other fellow alum to help save the Patriots varsity football team, which folded this season after a lack of interest.

According to Loudoun Now, step one is to personally pay for any player to attend football camp next year. Step two is launching Project Patriot a grant organization with fellow alumni to raise funds for extracurricular programming.

"I don’t care if the Park View High School football team ever, ever, ever wins a game," she said. "What I remember is the bus rides, and I remember the locker rooms, and I remember the, you know, the in-between moments. That is something that the students who are actively in school don’t know. They don’t realize that it’s those in-between moments that make the magic of high school. What I want for them is to have these friends and memories."

Burton should know. 

She was born in Sterling in 1982 and had three younger brothers. At Park View, she served as the student council treasurer, vice-president of her class, president of her class, captain of the cheerleading squad and homecoming queen her senior year. From there, she attended NYU and Fordham while simultaneously beginning her acting career. 

According to Virginia Public Radio reporter Michael Lee Pope, Park View is one of three Virginia high schools to cancel its varsity season this year, a trend that could continue in future years and isn't limited to Virginia.

Across the country, parents are grappling with America's love for youth football vs. the very scary effects of CTE and possible lifelong brain injuries. With the growth of sports like lacrosse and rugby, football has serious competition among parents who don't like what we're learning about brain health and football.

Even if football fails, Burton wants to continue to provide opportunities to students outside of the classroom.

“We want you guys to have every opportunity to do extra-curricular programs here at Park View," she told the crowd. "So we’re going to help you get your football team back. We’re also going to help you support every other club.

"Come out to at least one Park View game this season. Buy a hot dog, a slice of pizza, and cheer on the JV team, the marching band and the cheerleaders who are working so hard."

 

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