WESTBOROUGH – Michael Chapman used to suit his boys up with helmets and shoulder pads to prepare for a family football game in their backyard.
Since then, the Chapman boys have grown from their days of only being able to play with their dad at home.
“As soon as they were able to put on a helmet and shoulder pads, we signed ‘em up,” Michael said.
Now, the Chapman boys are playing the sport they grew to love under bright lights, with their dad cheering them on, but not from the stands.
Michael serves as the assistant coach of the middle school team for which his seventh grade son, William, plays.
According to Michael, the middle school team was recently developed by Westborough High School Athletic Director Johanna DiCarlo to allow middle school students to familiarize themselves with the game, so they could possibly play for the high school varsity team.
“We got a good size team of about 33 guys. They’re having fun and he [William] is having fun. We’re teaching the game from the ground up and having some fun while we’re doing it,” he said.
Additionally, he has coached his son, Brady, who now is a sophomore at Westborough High School on the varsity team, when he was playing youth football.
Michael noted that while coaching his sons, he treats them “as if they are any other player on the team.”
“I try to show them that they are just one piece of the machine, and they are no better or special than anybody else,” he said.
Michael touched on how playing for the varsity team has impacted Brady.
“He [Brady] loves his teammates [and] he loves his coaches. Football is such a great game; it teaches you so many things like discipline and teamwork,” he said.
Michael added, “He [Brady] is learning so many life lessons playing for Joe Beveridge.”
Brady said playing football has “definitely” strengthened his relationship with his father and younger brother, noting that attending Patriots games and Holy Cross games also allows the trio to bond.
“The time we spend together in football stadiums, or even at home watching from the TV bonds us even closer as a family,” he said.
In addition to watching football together, the passion they share for the sport is the core of their bond, according to William.
Michael said car rides to and from practice have especially brought them closer together.
“There are a lot of opportunities to talk about the sport and more importantly what’s going on in their day-to-day lives,” Michael said.
He added, “I know a lot of adults wish they could spend more time with their kids, and I am doing it every single day.”
Michael said he envisions him and his sons playing football long after his boys retire from the game.
“Football is always going to be something that binds us together,” he said.
Westborough High School football team tackles preseason