Athlete Spotlight: Wahconah football's Matt Fortin
The Wahconah football team is off to a great start despite its loss to East Longmeadow on Friday. The Warriors are currently 4-1, and while the skill position players tend to get all the glory, the true heart and soul of the team is always in the trenches. We caught up with offensive guard/defensive tackle Matt Fortin on Wednesday before the team's game against East Longmeadow and discussed everything from his future career plans to his favorite order from Angelina's. Matt's storytelling makes this Athlete Spotlight a must read!
Berkshire Eagle : Why have you never watched a whole football game?
Matt Fortin: I don't really know. I never really an interest in watching any sports at all. I really like playing the sports, but I never really sat down and watched them.
Eagle: What do you do in your free time?
Fortin: I'm either doing homework or playing XBOX, usually.
Fortin: Yeah, and hanging out with my friends
Eagle: So you've never even in passing [watched football]... When people talk about the Patriots, what do you say?
Fortin: I just don't really give any input.
Eagle: That's hilarious.
Eagle: You've been playing football your entire life, you play for Wahconah, football is a big deal at your school. Do you feel like you don't fit into that stereotypical jock mold?
Fortin: There isn't really a stereotypical jock at Wahconah. I kind of fit into every group. I don't have a set group that I hang out with, I kinda just talk here and there between groups.
Eagle: Talking to you, you seem very mild-mannered. How to do you flip that switch once you get on the field?
Fortin: It builds up over time, and I just kinda get angry. I just want to hit the guy across from me when we get out there, because that's what the game is. I just love football.
Eagle: This year you are off to a great start. How good does it feel when everything you're calling on defense, everything you're calling on offense seems to be working? How fun it is to be part of a team that's rolling?
Fortin: It feels awesome. It's great to have everything mesh together and work like that, but at the same time, we don't get that much of a challenge if everything works. We didn't face as much adversity [earlier in the season] — which we did face with Putnam, we did face adversity against them — it's a great feeling altogether.
Eagle: Who's your best friend on the team?
Fortin: I'd have to say Robby Genaway.
Eagle: Why do you guys get along so well.
Fortin: I've known him all my life. I went to elementary school with him, he's also my right tackle, right next to me. We've always been next to each other on the line. When I used to be a center in our senior league and freshman and sophomore year, he was a guard right next to me. So we've always been right next to each other on the line. He's lived right down the street from me all my life too.
Eagle: How important is that chemistry and relationship with your other offensive linemen?
Fortin: It's very important. You need to be able to trust the guy next to you, that he's going to fight just as hard as you're going to fight for him. And that he's going to do his job just as well as you're going to do yours, otherwise nothing can work if you're not all together.
Eagle: Do you have a funny Gary Campbell story?
Fortin: Just a couple weeks ago, this one is fresh in my mind. We were having a really tough week. We had a pretty OK practice, but at the end of practice he's getting real angry at us. So he had us do wheelbarrows — carrying another guy's legs up the hill, back down and switch it around, then go up the hill and back down again. If one person drops, everybody restarts. We had to do that four times over, and since we didn't get it right the first time, the next day we did it again. Four times over again. The next day we did it again. And we got it right that time, but the next week on Tuesday, we did the wheelbarrows again. We got it right the first time. He was really happy at this point because we got it all done. It was a really rainy day, everything was all muddy, and he turned his visor around and said 'are you guys crazy?' And he just booked it off into a mud puddle and jumped into a mud puddle.
Eagle: Do you have a future career in mind?
Fortin: I was looking into electrical engineering. I hadn't really looked into much college until yesterday. We had a college fair that we went to and I was thinking of a four-year plan.
Eagle: What about being an electrical engineer is appealing to you?
Fortin: The advancing technology and stuff. I just think that's really cool and interesting to me.
Eagle: Favorite piece of technology? Your XBOX?
Eagle: What is it about Fortnite that brings so many different types of people together?
Fortin: I feel like with that kind of Battle Royale, you can either play a really laid back game and just kind of have fun with your friends, or you can be very competitive and go just for the win. I think having all that together, and its kind of cartoonish graphics, so it's for everybody.
Eagle: Biggest hit that you've given or received?
Fortin: There's been a lot of them. Too many that I've given to stand out. I only remember being fully laid out once. It's probably happened a lot more, but I remember this one. It was in our Senior League, it was the championship game against Adams. I was running to get to the quarterback. I was reaching for him and had a hand on his shoulder, and then somebody blindsided me and I went sprawling out in the air and fell on my back.
Eagle: Were your teammates laughing when that happened?
Fortin: Nobody even saw it.
Eagle: Favorite place to eat in Dalton?
Fortin: Angelina's. Most people would say Hot Harry's, but that just hurts my stomach.
Eagle: Oh not a Hot Harry's guy? That's going to be a controversial take.
Eagle: What's your favorite order from Angelina's?
Fortin: I either get popcorn chicken or the original sub.
This interview was conducted and edited by Akeem Glaspie.
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