Robbie D’Amato, 17, is currently a 12th Grade student at San Lorenzo Valley High School. Offensive and defensive tackle, Robbie D’Amato is also one of the team captains for San Lorenzo Valley Cougar’s Varsity football team. Playing for his 10th year in a row (starting pop warner in 2nd grade) Robbie is an enthusiastic and valuable member of his team, and a dedicated addition to SLV’s student body.
Praising his time playing football as a great educational experience, Robbie says that through football he has learned valuable life lessons about the importance of hard work, co-operation, and the resilience necessary to persevere when facing great adversity. “This season was a tough one, and my most important goal was to stay positive so I could better help the younger players understand the game and it’s importance to the development of character as a team and as an individual.” says D’Amato about his last season at SLV. “It was rough at times for me to balance my school work and the dedication required to play football, but ultimately it was worth the long hours and sleepless nights. I managed to stay on top and that is the most important thing for me right now.”
When asked about advice he had for newer players to help them better balance such a large demands from school and athletics, Robbie was adamant about how important it was to manage your grades and school work first. “If you are ineligible because of bad grades you can’t play anyway, so it is of more consequence to maintain your schoolwork first and let sports come after. Coaches will tell you the same thing. Being a part of the team is important and an essential learning experience for any young person, but if you aren’t eligible you are letting down the team anyway. You may be tired, but you have to just stand up and work your way through it. That is one of the most important lessons I have learned while playing football.”
Robbie is a science enthusiast. While praising Rob Lahey and Ross Parmenter as some of his favorite teachers, Robbie is most interested by his AP Biology and Math Analysis (Pre-Calculus) classes. After the football season wraps up, Robbie is considering either Soccer or Rugby for a winter sport, and is firm about his return to shot-put and discus when track starts up in the spring of 2014. Along with the rest of his contemporaries, Robbie is applying to numerous colleges along the west coast, aiming for UC’s and other “places where he will be able to have fun and learn as much as he can.” If he decides to attend a community college, you will most likely see Robbie playing for the Santa Barbara Vaqueros.