Bears LB Nick Roach has 162 new friends after visit to Waukegan school
By Bryan Bonato Special to The News-Sun February 13, 2013 12:50PM
Chicago Bear Linebacker Nick Roach answers questions about his youth, career and Christian experience at Lake County Baptist School Lions in Waukegan on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
NICK ROACH SAYS:
■ Why does he feel it’s important to do something like this when he could be using his offseason time doing anything else?
“I know it’s cliche, but the kids are the future. A lot of kids don’t have good examples of what doing the right thing looks like played out by grown-ups. If you can encourage a kid that doing the right thing matters, that moral values are a real thing and something to be proud of, I think that goes a long way.”
■ What’s he doing at this time of year besides going around talking to kids?
“I’m working out a little bit and getting back into shape. Besides that, just hanging out with the family.”
■ Has he met new coach Marc Trestman and what did he think?
“I met him for about two minutes. It was really only a kind of handshake conversation. He seems like a nice enough guy.”
Updated: March 15, 2013 1:06PM
The original plan was to find a college basketball player to speak to the girls basketball team at tiny Lake County Baptist School in Waukegan.
Talk about an upgrade!
On Tuesday, Chicago Bears starting linebacker Nick Roach visited with the 162 students (grades K-12), sharing his story and answering many questions.
His presentation was the result of his friendship with Rico Stringer, who works in the North Chicago Police Department.
Stringer is friends with Frederick Diez, who also works for the NCPD.
And it is Diez who is the girls basketball coach at Lake County Baptist School.
Roach lived in Lake Bluff when he first joined the Bears, and he now resides in Northbrook.
Roach shared his story about growing up in Milwaukee and then going on to play college football at Northwestern before heading to the NFL.
Unlike many other players who make it to the NFL, Roach says he had not really dreamed of becoming a professional football player.
In fact, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do.
“My mom would tell me ‘You can’t go outside until your homework is done.’ It was really important to her that we had options,” Roach said.
He also presented a positive message about life choices and dealing with the challenges one faces in life.
“It’s important to take care of the easy things. The good thing is that they’re easy to do. The bad thing is that they’re also easy not to do. It’s easy to choose yes, but it’s also easy to choose no. That’s where you can get into trouble. Those easy choices add up over time.”
He also answered about two-dozen questions from teachers and students. After the assembly he took pictures with the students and signed autographs.
Some of the questions asked:
■ “How does it feel to beat the Packers?”
“We haven’t done that in a few years. It *used* to be fun.”
■ “Does he ever get nervous?”
“Not really. Once you’ve had the experience of failing a couple times, you know it can’t get any worse than it already has. This year, Adrian Peterson ran right over my face for a touchdown. The next drive, I wasn’t nervous, because it couldn’t get any worse than that.”
■ “How do you feel about coach Lovie Smith’s departure?”
“It was sad to see him go because he was there for a long time, but that’s the way it is in the NFL. Teams want to win now, and they felt it was time to make a change.”
And the answer that got the loudest cheer from the students:
■ “What’s your favorite Nintendo Wii game?”