Generally, profiling the local football star is a simple, enjoyable, positive process for all — from reporter, to athlete, to parents, to school and community.
But there are exceptions.
Let’s examine today’s story in The Bee about Clovis North quarterback Christian Rossi.
I’ve long known about prominent Central Section athletes whose parents had them repeat grades before high school — a practice effectively used as youth sports “redshirting” with the motive of growing stronger, playing better and, ultimately, landing a college scholarship.
I’ve published two indepth investigations on this in the past, one about 5 years ago and the other about 20 years previous.
Rarely have parents said their decisions were athletically motivated, typically pointing instead to the immaturity or young ages (or both) of their children.
This was also the explanation used by Rick Rossi, Christian’s father.
I’ve been told in the past couple years that there were several Clovis North athletes who had been held back. I did not know until this week that Rossi was one of them.
And that, consequently, led to interviews that, while going well, were a bit strained.
It’s a sensitive issue. But when a family chooses this route — particularly involving a high-profile, achieving athlete at a high-performing, achieving school — they’ve got to know there will be consequences. And that includes publicity.
Christian Rossi has proven — especially as a 17-year-old baseball player competing mostly against opposition his age or older last spring — that he really didn’t need the bonus year to succeed in athletics.
That said, there is no doubt his increased maturity level, awareness and calmness — especially on the football field this fall — has benefited.
Tonight will present perhaps his greatest challenge to date — the section’s Division I championship in wet conditions at Veterans Memorial Stadium against Central, which will be breathing fire after losing 50-7 to Clovis North six weeks ago.