The ‘C’ in Creed screams COMMUNITY. Rutland High School senior Matt Creed is this year’s recipient of the Robert Stafford High School Athlete Community Service Award presented by the Vermont Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
The award recognizes Creed’s extensive service that includes dedication to Unified Sports and Special Olympics. He also had a prominent part in Rutland’s High Health Awareness Day and the food drives to replenish the Community Cupboard.
“I tried to do things to get the community involved,” Creed said.
An outstanding student, he is headed to Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he will pursue a degree in Business Analytics.
“My dream job would be a data analyst for a pro sports team but who knows after college what path I will go down,”Creed said.
Yes, nothing is certain four years from now or, in these times of the COVID-19, four weeks from now.
Creed shares that uncertainty with every other student athlete. He is scheduled to report to camp with the Vermont team in late July to prepare for the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, the annual high school senior all-star game against New Hampshire slated for Aug. 1 at Castleton University’s Dave Wolk Stadium.
The game is not certain to happen although Maple Sugar Bowl General Chairman Kristi Morris said that he is “cautiously optimistic.”
The virus also makes his preseason football camp at WPI far from certain although the date is set for the Engineers to report Aug. 10. WPI competes in the NEWMAC, the same conference Norwich University calls home for football.
The future is so clouded, a player could be challenged to keep up his daily workouts.
Creed said this has not been a problem for him.
“Nothing has been taken away yet. My mind-set is that I still have those goals of playing in the Shrine Game and for WPI,” Creed said. “Right now, motivation is not a problem.”
The final decision of where to go to school came down to WPI or RPI. He visited both campuses.
“There was a family atmosphere at WPI. Coach (Chris) Robertson was a straight-up guy. He was very honest with me and that is what set him apart,” Creed said.
Robertson is bringing Creed to camp as an offensive lineman.
Creed comes into the college game with a great grasp of the fundamentals of line play owing to the fact his high school coach was Mike Norman, a Kodak Little All-American offensive lineman for Norwich University.
“Coach Norman made me the player I am today,” Creed said. “He could coach any position but when it comes to coaching the offensive line, he is dynamic.”
Creed’s coach for the Shrine Bowl is St. Johnsbury Academy head coach Rich Alercio, a noted teacher of offensive line play. Alercio has had numerous articles published on line play and is in demand as a clinician on the subject.
“I am going to soak up everything in that I can,” Creed said.
There is a Zoom meeting among members of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl’s board on Tuesday but Morris does not expect any decision to come out of that meeting about the event’s fate. He believes the second week in June is realistic for making the decision.
The Maple Sugar Bowl has been given the green light by Shriners International to pursue playing the game within the guidelines of the two states.
“I am cautiously optimistic but I am not sure what it is going to look like. We won’t have 3,500 people at the game,” Morris said.
Playing the game with only family members in attendance is something that has “been bounced around” according to Morris.
There has also been discussion as to whether the annual banquet with 350 to 380 people in attendance on the eve of the game would be held.
Creed is hopeful he will get to play this one last game with Rutland High teammates Ethan Coarse, Malik Hendrickson and Luke Ragosta.
“I would not be on the team were it not for them and my other teammates at Rutland,” Creed said.
COVID-19 has sacked graduations, classroom learning and spring sports seasons.
Now, it threatens the summer and even fall sports landscape.
Creed has not allowed it to erode his motivation. He is preparing for the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl and his college preseason camp with everything he’s got.