ADM Football Players Take a Trip to ‘The Secret Garden’


Photo by Angie Storck

Many football players and managers made it to the musical on opening night.

Normally, fall Friday nights find football players on the field, but on Friday, November 11th, ADM football players took a seat in the audience to watch the cast of The Secret Garden perform under the auditorium lights.

For the first time in 11 years, the football team went to the Unidome for the semifinals, however, that meant they would be playing on Saturday, the same day as students in theater were putting on one of their performances of the musical, The Secret Garden. To leave students and the community free to head to the Dome to cheer on the Tigers, theater accommodated by moving their 7:00 pm show on Saturday to 7:00 pm on Sunday, in addition to their other planned 7:00 pm Friday and 2:00 pm Sunday shows.

So, the football team planned a trip to the musical as a thank you to director, Molly Longman, and to support everyone involved in the production. The idea was a success with around 90 players and managers making it to the show. Longman said that it was “a little hectic” seating so many extra people, but “any time you have a packed house is great . . . .”

The 90 or so football players added to the already full house on Friday night.

Through this event, the coaches gave players like Justin Holm, a senior, the opportunity to see an ADM theater production for the first time, and it gave other players the opportunity to attend another show like Lincoln Banwart, a junior. Banwart said, “. . . the play last year was very good, and I was excited for this year’s play, too, so I decided to come.”

Both players liked the musical. “The acting was actually the most impressive part, I thought,” Holm said, and he, “thought it was actually really good. It was really well put together.” Banwart agreed, adding that he would “definitely watch it again if [he] could.”

The directors of The Secret Garden shared their thoughts on the significance of the team going to the musical. Music director, Becca Cassel, thinks it is good for students to see things they are not involved in. The students get to “learn something about them [other students] and about that activity and just kind of see a different side of someone that you . . . maybe were not expecting.” Longman also said students watching other activities means back at school they are then able to tell those involved that they saw them at the activity.

Longman spoke about how this demonstrated the school community. She said, “I think sometimes we get caught up . . . in our own teams . . . our theater team, quote on quote, or our football team, but it is nice in a small school that we should have a sense of team that is everybody . . . that community that is just ADM in general. So them showing up to our show, and a lot of us showing up to their game as well, just emphasizes that we really are all part of the one… same big group . . . .”

During intermission, some players found the free-will donation treats out in the high school commons.

Assistant director, Cindy DePond, continued, “I think they all had a great time. They were all great audience members, and it was really fun to see them supporting our team . . . and Dausen is on both teams, so . . . it was a really great night for [everyone].”

Dausen Daughtery is a junior who participates in football and in theater as an actor. He said he was “a little scared” and “worried” when he first found out the team was coming, but he grew more confident as the musical went on and he “felt happy that they actually were able to show up, and almost all of them actually showed.”

Longman said, “that even though it’s the night before their really big deal, they’re demonstrating they understand that this is a really big deal for us, too.” And the players do get it. Holm described the team coming to the musical as a way for them to ‘pay it forward.’ He said, “Because how would we expect people to support our program . . . if we don’t come and support them?” Holm pointed out how the stands have been packed for their games, so “it’s just a respectful thing” to do.

The result of the football players going to the musical could be them potentially getting involved in theater or just coming to support more shows in the future, Cassel said. Either way, in the simple act of showing up to the musical, the football players showed their support for Daughtery, and the whole theater: the cast, the crews, and the directors.