Athlete of the Week: Jack Gill


Fia Cooper

Gill was recruited by a friend to join the football team while he was at basketball practice.

Olivia Fuchs, Staff Reporter

After being recruited by a friend to play football for the first time this year, sophomore Jack Gill, a transfer student from Oregon Charter Academy, has developed a passion for the sport and the people who play it with him, and despite sustaining a serious knee injury, his hopes for the future are high. 

Sophomore Grant Ellison recruited Gill to play football, and though Gill’s mother was hesitant, the pair eventually convinced her to let Gill out there on the daunting 360 feet of turf. 

However, during just his third game playing for La Salle this season, Gill experienced an injury that would potentially alter his entire football season: a sprained medial collateral ligament, a ligament near your kneecap. 

When Gill planted his foot to hit the person on the opposing team, he said his knee “moved in towards [his] body.”

Gill says that the first thing he thought of upon hearing the “pop” from his knee after being injured was his mom. “I made sure just for her sake,” Gill said. “As soon as I stood up and was hobbling off the field, [I gave her] that two thumbs up towards her in the crowd, just to make sure she knew I was okay because I know she was definitely worried.”

Due to a family emergency, Gill’s mother had to leave upon his injury. Gill said he was offered a ride home by multiple different parents. “I can already tell La Salle’s just an amazing community,” he said. 

After an appointment with a doctor to examine his knee, Gill was told that recovery would be a four to six week process, but Gill decided that he was going to make it four. Gill does not see this injury impacting his future, and he is looking forward to trying out for the boys basketball team. 

Gill has been playing basketball for years and says it really helps him as a sort of therapy after a long, hard day at school. 

One of the most influential basketball players for Gill is NBA player Kevin Love. Gill says that he likes to go to the park in the summertime and play pickup basketball games all day long because Kevin Love did that, and he gained a lot of skills using that mechanism. Coincidentally, his aunt has a tight bond with Kevin Love’s sister. 

The last year and a half has been a struggle for Gill as a self-described extrovert, and he said the pandemic was, at times, an extreme battle for him. “This pandemic really tested my mental health,” Gill said. He said it was really difficult to social distance and continue to “still have that social connection.”

Being an extrovert is what Gill considers to be his “superpower.” He really enjoys talking to people and making new friends. “My definition of a friend is not someone you’re really close with,” said Gill. “But someone you say hi to each day and check in on.”

Gill loves to make people’s day. Once, he was walking on a college campus, and he high fived as many people as he possibly could just because he loved to see them smile, and he thinks that simple acts of kindness like that can really make someone’s day and change things for someone. 

Even in his future professional career, Gill wants to put other people first. Although he is not completely sure what he wants, he knows that he definitely wants a degree that allows him the opportunity to help people. However, he said he is not quite sure yet if that means being a surgeon, a psychiatrist, a school counselor, or something else.

Even though Gill just started at La Salle this year, he has truly found a family within the football team. He no longer considers them to be just his friends. “I found a second family with this team,” Gill said.

However, Gill explained how difficult it is to hear students speaking poorly about the performance of the football team after all the work they put in. “Yes, it’s discouraging,” he said.

Despite having to hear these disheartening and demoralizing words, Gill said he knows that he has his team and family with him to face their challenges together. 

Gill also prides himself on being extremely ambitious, so he refuses to succumb to the struggle. He has a full schedule as a football and basketball player, is taking sports conditioning as zero period, and is a full time student. This leaves him with just two hours to complete his homework each night before bed, which he has admitted is difficult. 

Many of the football games this year have been cancelled due to a large number of injuries on the team, which has also been a struggle for Gill.

Gill also proves his loyalty to his team by going to every football practice, even with an injured knee that has taken him out for the whole season. 

Gill is excited to see where the future takes him because he says his family gives him their full support, and he believes that “everything works together and pieces together.”