Arcadia High School

Bruce Matthews shares the secret to becoming a Hall of Famer

The Pro Football Hall of Fame recently asked AHS to be involved in its “Heart of a Hall of Famer” program. The “Heart of a Hall of Famer” is a series that allows students to be given an opportunity to learn first-hand of what it took (beyond athletic ability and skill) for legendary football players and sports heroes to achieve success whether it be during a game, during a practice session, or during life. The program focuses on Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Gold Jacket Standards of Character (Commitment, Integrity, Courage, Respect and Excellence).

Some of AHS’ best athletes attended this question and answer session, via internet, with AHS’ own Pro Football Hall of Fame member and alumni, Bruce Matthews. The session took place on Oct 21 in the AHS Lecture Hall. Attending the session was certainly an interesting experience. The best of our athletes was personally chosen by our coaches in order to attend this exclusive interaction. We were one of the few schools to be a part of this opportunity and were given a quick insight of Matthews’s personal beliefs on the playing field and on life.

When asked what quality impacts Matthews the most, he quickly responded that integrity is the most important to him, going as far as to say “I don’t think there is any higher quality a person can have.” Taking the same answer, Matthews applies the concept to school and education as he believes such a quality will meaningfully impact everyone. The interaction with the retired football player proved to be engaging as he answered every question with a touch of his own personal background and experience. Matthews recounts his own high school career saying he was that “shy kid” despite being taller than everyone else. He specifically mentions “taking that opportunity to make yourself uncomfortable to step out of your comfort zone” made himself really “grow as a person.” Matthews directly tells to his audience the same concept will lead to self-improvement and growth as a person. Standing upon his belief, Matthews asserts “I grew as a person,” by looking back into his past.

The session carried on with Matthews answering multiple questions from various students from various schools. Given the opportunity, junior Eden Hardy asked Matthews regarding recruiting from colleges and universities. The retired football player responded “it was interesting. Back in the day it started basically in your junior year.” He elaborates upon it and describes a conversation with his father when Matthews was accepted to USC; stating his father’s quote that he remembers vividly, Matthews repeats “you want to go there and play against the best to really see where you stand.” The concept is essentially applied to education and college applications as Matthews implicitly shows the need to truly see where in the world everyone stands and how they can improve upon it.

At the end of the session, Matthews says his farewell to the audience and the session simply ended. The program teaches the students of how an individual’s beliefs can lead to new opportunities and goals. Matthews fervently kept to his beliefs and managed to reach his desired goals while keeping the same beliefs. He explicitly tells his audience to do the same to achieve their own goal. The question and answer session was definitely an interesting experience that gave some of our best athletes insight into professional sports and education.