Inspirational and encouraging are just a few words to describe Rams Defensive Lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day's virtual visit with the Garfield High School football team on Tuesday, June 14.
During the Zoom call, Joseph-Day addressed the entire varsity football program and recognized their head coach, Lorenzo Hernandez, as the Rams' High School Coach of the Year.
"Huge congratulations coach! What you're doing for these young men is huge," said Joseph-Day. "Your influence will go beyond their high school years."
Though the lighthearted Q & A session brought many smiles and chuckles from both the student-athletes and Joseph-Day, perseverance was the overarching theme of the conversation. Before fielding questions from the student-athletes, he shared details about his childhood, football journey, and how overcoming adversity has helped shape his character.
"That's why I love the game of football so much. It teaches you how to persevere through those moments and how to get back up when you get knocked down," said a passionate Joseph-Day. "There have been so many moments where you feel like you want to quit, you feel like, 'Man I don't want to do this anymore,' but you don't [quit], and all that translates to real life."
He proceeded to share two stories about times he faced adversity - losing his starting spot after his first year at Rutgers University and breaking his hand during his final college season, when he became a coveted NFL prospect.
"Life's going to throw some hard things at you, just don't give up. It's all about your attitude and perspective," Joseph-Day explained. "Remember, y'all are more than football players. Keep doing what you're doing, and success will find you beyond the field."
At the end of the Q & A, Joseph-Day surprised Coach Hernandez with a $5,500 donation to support Garfield High School's football program.
"Thank you everyone at the Rams organization for giving us this opportunity to really showcase what our program's about," Coach Hernandez responded. "I'm sure we are going to use those funds to continue developing our program and to take care of our kids and our community. On behalf of myself, our administration, and district, I just want to say thank you to the Rams for always being there for our community and our student-athletes as we move forward."
Throughout his 20-year stint at Garfield High School, Coach Hernandez has registered 12 Eastern League Championships, a 3A CIF-LA Section Championship, a 4A CA State CIF Regional Championship, and represented Garfield in its first-ever 4A CIF State Championship.
Since returning home to Los Angeles in 2016, the Rams have recognized five High School Coach of the Year honorees and donated a total of $13,500 to benefit each of their high school football programs.
To learn more about the Rams community outreach efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.