By John Torsiello
A different sport and about 100 years apart in time, but there are similarities between champion golfer Francis Ouimet and Avon Old Farms student-athlete Rob Root.
Ouimet walked across the street from his home in Brookline, Ma. to The Country Club and shocked the world when he won the U.S. Open as a teenage in 1913. Root has lived his whole life in a house just a few blocks from Avon Old Farms. It was quite simple and natural for him to walk those few blocks to attend the private school and launch what has become a fine academic and athletic career.
Root just finished up his junior season for the Avon Old Farms football team, which reached New England Prep School Athletic Conference Arthur Valicenti Bowl at Conard High School before losing, 50-42. He played both the offensive and defensive lines and was a key reason for the Winged Beavers’s 8-2 season.
Head coach Kevin Driscoll called Root, “a breakout player” this season and a football player “is on his way to becoming a great one.”
Root, who was born in Hartford and has lived in Avon 17 years, has been playing football for about six years. “I started playing organized football in middle school and some of my favorite memories are from learning the game and I have loved it ever since.”
He talked about his positions (offensive tackle and defensive end) and the challenges each presents.
“The most challenging part about these positions is the physical toll they take, the hits that are taken and given every day in practice and games. Even when I am not the largest out there, I still have to perform at a high level for every down of every Saturday game.”
He said he was thrilled with the Winged Beavers’ year.
“I am very pleased with what our team accomplished this season. We won a very competitive Erickson League title and as a team we were one touchdown away from winning a New England championship. Our team played with a lot of heart and intensity, sometimes coming back from deficits to win tough games. Also it was a great way to end a terrific over 35-year football coaching tenure for coach Driscoll.”
Root couldn’t be happier with his decision to attend Avon Old Farms.
“The thing that I enjoy most about Avon Old Farms is the brotherhood and sense of community. The teamwork that I have experienced on the field is echoed in the classroom. I have benefitted from the support of other students and I have worked hard to contribute to others both academically, and through charitable causes.”
He called the strength and conditioning program provided by the school “second to none.” He added, “I’m lucky to have great trainers and great teammates who will be working out during the winter and even through a spring lacrosse season so that we are ready for training camp in August.”
Root, and the rest of the football team’s off-season training consists of lifting to develop core muscle strength, running and callisthenic cross-fit exercises for endurance, plus cone drills and ladder drills for speed and agility.
Root has also played ice hockey at Avon Old Farms but is taking this year off.
“I’m replacing hockey with strength and conditioning workouts so that I can recover from the wear and tear of the season and to prepare for a winning lacrosse season this spring.”
Root has been nailing grades like he hits opposing running backs on the football field.
“Classes are tough but very rewarding. I’m maintaining a Deans List average of about 3.7, and I spend hours every day keeping up with the commitments that a junior year at AOF demands.”
As for the next level, he said, “I’ve been working on the college process since last summer. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many schools and I’m aiming for a university where I can achieve a great academic degree, while continuing to play football or lacrosse.”
They may not write a book and make a movie about Rob Root’s life and sporting exploits the way they did for Francis Ouimet. But the Avon youngster has taken an equally short path to his own personal success at Avon Old Farms.