If you’ve ever spent time on the campus of The Avalon School, you may have noticed a green Honda Pilot parked in front. The Pilot is a sensible choice in vehicles yet rugged all the same. Not really known for its speed, the Pilot brings power and can deliver a punch despite its squatty frame. That said, it’s only fitting that a certain Avalon linebacker, a workhorse who for five seasons has wreaked havoc on opposing offenses, gets behind the wheel of the Japanese SUV.
Standing at five feet and ten inches, weighing 230 pounds, Tommy Vince is one of the hardest working student-athletes to ever walk the halls of Avalon. His prowess on the football field is only overshadowed by his big heart, and determination in the classroom.
Coming from two diligent working parents, Charmie and Captain Robert Vince, Tommy has learned that the effort you put into school and athletics directly impacts the outcome. His father set a great example for him through his initiatives in the military by becoming a director of Nuclear Deterrents, policies, and strategic arms control. Not to be outdone, his mother is a fixture in the Avalon-Brookewood community and is instrumental in the daily operations of both schools.
“I love my family and it’s the most important thing in my life,” said Vince.
Through the insistence of his parents, Vince came to Avalon in the fifth grade and has done nothing but prove his excellence on the field and in the classroom. He receives quality marks on his report cards, is friendly with all students of all ages, and yes, he’s a terror at middle linebacker.
His influence on the Avalon student body is deeper however. Vince is a staunch trendsetter, and uses his sway to promote a better tone to the school. When it appeared the school’s Harvest Dance was as good as dead, Vince made sure the more popular kids attended. Even going as far as to set up his friends with favorable dates.
A master at reciting poetry and a scrappy capture-the-flag competitor, he elevated himself to Captain of Carroll House. Through this honor, and by his performances, Vince helped breath life back into a stale high school spirit.
Its football however, that Vince is most known for and as a sixth grader he started his seven-year long Avalon football career when he was allowed to practice with the school’s middle school squad. An opportunity that was not offered to other students and Vince took full advantage. Later, as an eighth grader, he was blessed with the opportunity to play linebacker for the high school team, a position he played his entire football career.
In the ninth grade, Vince started to really hit it off with football. As a starting varsity linebacker at the mere age of 14, he needed to learn the game and the defensive play calls very quickly. So that’s what he did as the team player became an important leader.
As the case with most competitors, Vince wasn’t satisfied with his freshmen year success and spent the entire offseason working out, running, and studying plays. The combination of hard work and studiousness led him to become one of Avalon’s top players his sophomore year. From then on and to the end of his five-year varsity career, Vince called all defensive plays and continued to push himself and his teammates to always strive for more. This dedication is what led the football team to winning their first of three consecutive championships.
His junior season was yet another one filled with many successes. Keeping his starting linebacker position and continuing to call plays he caught the eye of many different college coaches including schools like, University of Dayton, Catholic University of America, Rose Hulman, and Trinity. At this point of his career Vince was still intrigued with the notion of trying to play college football while getting his degree in engineering. Leading his team to their second consecutive championship Vince was excited to put in another hard-working off-season.
“I look at Tommy as a brother, he has taught me a lot and he is definitely a great leader in my eyes; even though the playing days are over the sky is the limit for Tommy,” said teammate Rachid Ibrahim.
Heading into his senior year, Vince’s goals were clear; to win one last championship and to set a good example for the underclassmen stepping into his shoes. Continuing the streak he led the team to yet another championship and a very successful season.
Ultimately, his legacy speaks for itself.
Vince soon realized after his senior season that it would be very difficult to keep up his studies in advanced programs and to play football at such a competitive level.
“I’ve loved playing football and the companionship you have for others, but I am ready to hang up the Jersey,” he explained. “I plan on getting a good education.”
Although he loves the game and will have a hard time walking away Vince realizes that his education is what will propel him into adulthood and help him realize goals and successes that he doesn’t even know of.
- One Last Hurrah For Class of ’13 (theavalonchronicles.wordpress.com)