From December until March Michael Bobak is a fairly typical teenager. The 15 -year old Caledon East lad, bordering on 6 feet, loves photography and often finds himself out looking for special places and odd angle shots that most people wouldn’t go after. “You get some great shots that way” says the grade 10 Robert F Hall Catholic Secondary School student.
That great perspective and willingness to go the extra mile also helps to nudge him along between April and November (with the exception of a few weeks mid-summer) when Michael’s world becomes all about football.
The football bug grabbed onto Michael early when at the young age of 7 he became enamoured with the sport while watching a friend’s older brother play. Michael started to play at age 8.
This year Michael has earned himself the opportunity to represent Team Ontario in the 2015 Spalding Cup, a prestigious event in St Jean Quebec July 4th to 11th, in the U17 (1999-2000) division. And he earned it as all champions earn their way….with practise.
Practise is pretty much a daily part of this remarkably focussed young man’s life during football season. He trains in Mississauga several times at week with Antonio Banks, a former NFL player who played for the Minnesota Vikings. He practises with Jeff Mandelker, a University of Toronto kicking coach. And, as he is currently playing with the Guelph Jr. Gryphons as a linebacker, field goal kicker and punter, he also practises there on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Game Day.
And to top up all that practise there’s HUDL where he watches game tapes online and gets commentary from his coach, following up with a written test later on. Speaking of tests, when does a student with this kind of crazy schedule fit in his studies? “Oh, I’m definitely a night owl”, says Michael. “If I don’t get it done right after school before practise then I get it done later in the evening, after 10:00”.
Asked what is his most satisfying moment during a game Michael offers “when you punt the ball and it spirals, with a great arch”. And least favourite? “Getting blindsided. A big hit you just didn’t see coming”.
Formally of Brampton the family now resides in Inglewood, and dad Terry and mom Dana, are dedicated football parents, ushering Michael to all those games and practises.
And Michael’s goal? The answer comes with a broad grin “To play pro football!”