By: Samantha Ayala
Before the 2018 football season, Park View lost its varsity football team due to shortage of experienced players. Many of the senior football players had the tough decision of either quitting football, or transferring to Park View’s rival, Dominion high school, to continue to play on its team and come back to Park View once the season was over.
Tony Lampe is one of the Park View seniors who was affected by the decision.
“When I first found out the news, I was mainly shocked and angry, but at the same time we all knew there was nothing we could do about it,” said Lampe.
Lampe originally thought about quitting football all together to stay at Park View because he wanted to graduate with the friends he grew up going to school with. He also planned on his summer camp and football numbers helping him to get into college.
Lampe talked to Park View’s athletic director Jason Testerman about transferring to Dominion and coming back. Mr. Testerman originally told him that he wasn’t allowed to do that. He then talked to Park View’s principal Kirk Dolson, who then told Tony that he could appeal to The Virginia High School League (VHSL).
The VHSL typically doesn’t allow an appeal unless the player has a valid reason, which in this case the player did since Park View got rid of its varsity program.
“There is no option for the canceled sport, but there is an option to continue to teach him about the importance of family and friends,” said Tony’s father, Mr. Anthony Lampe.
Tony’s father wrote a heartfelt email to Mr. Dolson, telling him how he was going to support Tony and his decision about football, but as a father, he felt like it was his job to push as hard as he could for this appeal. His father and Mr. Dolson agreed and concluded that they were going to fight as hard as they could to help not just Tony, but the rest of the seniors who wanted to transfer to Dominion and come back to Park View.
The Park View senior football players got permission to get the appeal, but they could only play for Dominion high school. If the boys wanted to go to another school, they couldn’t use the appeal, and had to follow the VHSL rules and wait a year in order to play a sport.
“The decision was hard for me because a lot of people were saying I was fake for leaving [Park View]. I left not because I didn’t like Park View, but my passion for football overweighed everything and I chose the right decision, because I came back to my real family at the end of the season,” said Lampe.
He started going to Dominion’s football conditioning over the summer and got the position of punter and kicker.
“I had to give up my quarterback position at Park View because Dominion already had one. I got upset because that’s what I know I was good at and then I had to learn a new position,” said Lampe.
Tony not only had to learn a new position, but he was faced with many more obstacles throughout the transition. He had to learn a new coach and his coaching methods, new teammates and what they’re capable of, and new teachers and friends. He luckily had one class with his closest friend from Park View, Alex Bardales.
“My relationship with Tony got so much better because we got closer as not just friends but teammates. We kept our heads down and when it was practice time, we grinded together,” said Bardales.
When Tony first got to Dominion, he stayed to himself while he was waiting to come back to his Patriot family. He went straight to practice from school and kept that as a cycle until the season was over. His friends who went with him to Dominion and his new teammates helped him out throughout his time at Dominion.
“The guys who came over with me kept me feeling that I wasn’t completely abandoned and alone and the guys at Dominion were also really welcoming towards us which helped me fit in with them,” said Lampe.
Despite all the support and help he got from his teammates, he felt the difference between Park View’s energy compared to Dominion’s. From the hallways to the football games, he missed the Park View spirit he left behind.
“At Dominion I felt like I was at a job. The players were more competitive and better, although they didn’t really care as much as they did at Park View. We had problems of keeping players on the team because of how mad they got after losing a game, and at Park View it didn’t matter what the score was, we just wanted to play football. They cared more about winning, Park View cared about playing and each other.” said Lampe.
After hearing about Park View losing its varsity team, Mr. Carl Walter, Dominion’s former football coach, was shocked.
“There is so much talent at Park View, but no one takes advantage of it. I’m glad I got to coach some of the football players like Tony that came to Dominion because they truly have the passion for football in them,” said Mr. Walter.
Despite losing its football team, Tony and his teammates never gave up with their passion for playing. He defeated every obstacle that got in his way and made hard decisions that he didn’t want to do, but at the end of the day, he came back to his Patriot family and will graduate alongside with his friends.
“At the end of the day, Tony and all the Park View guys, including myself who left, got the awesome opportunity to still play football. Not with the school we would have wanted to, but we still got to play with cool people. We finished the season and came back just in time to our real family and graduate with them. That is a blessing,” said Bardales.