Glen Rose High School senior Tanner Stroud has aspirations of being the third member of his family to go into firefighting.
His father is a firefighter for the city of Keene, and his brother is getting close to wrapping up his certification to become a firefighter.
For Stroud, there is no better place to prepare for his future profession than on the football field. He sees a lot of similarities between the two.
“Being in the fire service, if you don’t work as a team it doesn’t work, and so that’s a lot like a football team,” he said. “If your team doesn’t work together, you won’t do as good during the season.”
Early in his football career, he learned a valuable lesson about teamwork. As a sophomore, Stroud played mostly fullback, but when the new coaching staff came in, he was asked to adjust his role.
“I kind of expected to stay on offense and then they asked me to play defensive tackle, and I was surprised,” he said. “I picked it up pretty quick.”
He mastered it so well that he was named all-district for the 5-0 district-champion Tigers, who finished 8-5 on the season before losing in the third round of the Class 4A, Division II playoffs.
And there is more similarities to football and firefighting than just working as a team, he said. The preparation for the physical and mental nature of the profession is equally important.
“(At a fire) you almost have to take a second to calm down before you go in, and once you get there and the house is on fire, or even if you can’t see the fire, you have to calm yourself down and assess it,” he said.
“At the beginning of the game, and just waiting for the game to start and being nervous about how it’s going to go, you have to sit back and let the game get going before making any assumptions on how it’s going to turn out.”
After graduation from high school, Stroud has aspirations of playing college football while earning a business degree because he said it will help him when it comes to advancement in the fire service.
The Tigers play host to Gatesville tonight (Friday, Aug. 18) at 6:30 in the first scrimmage of the season at Tiger Stadium. After traveling to Waco La Vega Aug. 24 for the final scrimmage of the year, Glen Rose will open the regular season Sept. 1 on the road at Grandview. The Tigers’ home opener is set for Sept. 8 against Waco Connally.
“I think it’s going to be a really good season. Everyone is tougher and we worked hard during the summer and the work ethic of the of the athletes coming up and the ones already here is good,” Stroud said. “It’s going to be a great season.”