From the archives: Football star and former ASL student visits middle school

Editors’ Note: With the news that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has retired from playing professional American football, The Scroll is posting this article online from the June 2013 print edition. In addition, we have added a photo gallery at the bottom of the article to include many images that have never been published before.

“We want Luck,” chanted many fifth and sixth graders on May 24, while waiting for Andrew Luck’s arrival. The students stood on the lower playground at the doors that connect the gyms with the middle/high school playgrounds. Even the light drizzle that led up to his arrival could not contain the excitement of many middle schoolers. Ms. Laure Pothain, one of the teachers on duty at the time, recounted how challenging it was to control the children during recess, “Everyone was so excited. They lined up and chanted.”

Andrew Luck is an NFL starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. He went to ASL from K2-second grade in 1995-1998. 

Fifth grader John Towfighi summed up the moment by saying, “It was the best moment of my life!”  It is not every day ASL receives a visit from an inspirational professional athlete.   

Will Wilson, Luck’s agent and uncle, stated that they were in London to see the Champions League Final. He thought that it would be a great opportunity to visit his former school. “Luck maintains a strong commitment to ASL.”

Andrew Luck signs cards and footballs for excited middle school students on May 24. He is a former ASL student (‘95-’98). Students had anticipated his arrival with chants (photo by Maxim Salikhov).

Luck was a generous and accommodating guest to his fans and willing to sign almost anything put before him including a used sock and a shoe, though he did draw the line and refused to sign a Tom Brady jersey. His visit included a tour of the school that Mr Farmer and Ms Green led. Luck found the places he saw to be very familiar to his memories. He remarked, “It is pretty much the same. I remember the layout of the school, the playground and the gym including the area where you could walk above and look down.” 

Andrew Luck vividly remembers his time at ASL fondly, “One year I was Batman for Halloween.” While he does remember certain things well at ASL, some parts of the school were new to Luck. “The entrance we came in is completely foreign to me and the [450] person auditorium is new to me too.” Once Luck arrived at ASL he went straight to the soccer pitch of the middle school playground where the kids stood anxiously waiting for their turn to receive a pass from him. Spencer Rosen, a seventh  grader, remarked on the pass he received, “The pass was perfect. It was a perfect spiral right into my chest.”

What brought Andrew Luck to England when he was a child was his father’s career in American football.  Andrew Luck’s dad was a former Houston Oilers back up quarterback in the 1980s and after his playing career ended he became a general manager for some European football teams, such as Frankfurt Galaxy (in Frankfurt) and Rhein Fire (in Dusseldorf).

Josh Silberwasser, a seventh grader, stated, “I believe he is inspirational because even though he moved around the world he overcame it even though he might not have liked it. He is also a great athlete and really smart because he went to Stanford.” 

He is a role model to students who are balancing academics and sports. He also is a role model because he not only did well in sport he did well in school and he has a clean image in the public eye. 

Luck gave advice on prioritizing sports and school. “I never wanted to sacrifice doing well in a sport for school. You just have to manage and prioritize things. If it is finals weeks, you’re studying not practicing.” 

Andrew Luck still prioritizes. He remarked on his priorities when it comes to football. “One, football is a priority because it is a job. If you take care of football, everything else falls together.”

Andrew Luck throws a football to fifth grader Sofia Janssen. On his arrival he threw footballs with fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders (photo by Ayla Mahmood).

Another way he advised students to advance in sports without sacrificing school is to attend sports camps in the summer. Luck also emphasized the importance of setting goals as you progress. He stated that, “You set goals, you accomplish them, then set a new goal.” Luck gave an example. “When I was y’all’s age, my goal was to have fun and go to high school, then get on the varsity football team by sophomore year. I wanted to win district championship and league championship. It’s important to have goals. Once you reach them, set the bar higher.” 

Luck went to Stratford High School in Houston, Texas. He remarked on the coaches he had there. “Coaches [were] good. I tried to be coachable which is  important for any person or athlete.”

When he was recruited to play for Stanford, Andrew Luck said he was fortunate to have good enough grades to get in. As much as Luck said that he was fortunate, it is obvious that is was due to hard work both on and off the field. “If football didn’t work out, Stanford provided security and a degree.”

Andrew Luck achieved recognition at Stanford when he was honored as the runner up for the Heisman Trophy in 2010 and 2011. In the 2012 NFL draft, Andrew Luck was picked number one overall. He was successful early in his career and now holds many rookie records such as most game-winning drives by a rookie quarterback (7) and most passing yards by a rookie in a single season (4,374).

Andrew Luck has had an almost injury free football career. “A broken finger was the most serious (injury). I missed one game in college. I’ve had no life threatening event. I’ve been lucky.” 

Andrew Luck was very also very fortunate because he grew up in a household that was very supportive of him becoming an athlete and a father who had excelled as a quarterback as well. When asked about his parents, he said they were always supportive. Andrew Luck always sets goals for himself. He stated that he always wanted to be a quarterback, “I always wanted to be a quarterback because my dad played quarterback in the league (NFL).”

Andrew Luck remarked about his childhood life in London and how it might have affected his career. “I don’t know, probably wouldn’t be playing professional football.” 

Andrew Luck also remarked about the advantages and disadvantages of living in Europe (he also lived in Frankfurt), “I would say there is no disadvantages to being in both places. You can make of it what you will. I was very fortunate to grow up overseas. It opened my eyes to a bunch of different cultures.” 

ASL memories are still strong in Luck’s mind despite some structural changes. Overall, Luck has been shown a great time here at ASL “It’s been great. I was very impressed with all the people. It’s been fun to walk around the school and to rekindle the memories again. 

Andrew Luck’s visit to ASL was exciting for the whole middle school and himself. It is a day that will be remembered by many.

Sourna Daneshvar and Sissel Anderson contributed to this article.   

Check out the photo gallery below to see some photos of Luck’s visit that have never been published before.

Andrew Luck visits ASL on May 24, 2013
Andrew Luck attended ASL from K2-second grade in 1995-1998. He returned to campus to visit students and faculty on May 24, 2013.
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About Will Fox ('18)

Sports Editor 2012-2013

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