Why I Give

Russ Sifers '66
Russ Sifers '66
What I learned on the football field prepared me for life.

I graduated from Pembroke-Country Day School in 1966.  Pem-Day prepared me quite well for college.  My Cs and Ds at Pem-Day became As and Bs at KU, in spite of my embracing the '60s as a flower child.  But I have often wondered if I learned more on the Pem-Day football field than in the classroom.  My classroom teachers all spent extra time and effort with me.  My College Board scores were surprisingly high, but what I learned on the football field prepared me for life.

After my dad, my first football coach was Joe Scalet whose motto was, "No one ever drowned in sweat."  My final football coach at Pem-Day was Lee Flappan who pushed us with, "One more time.  One more time."  Every time I put my Raider helmet on and ran out onto the field, I always believed we could win, otherwise why even put the helmet on?  I learned there would be guys bigger, stronger and even faster than me.  I learned that I would be hit hard and knocked down again and again.  But I also learned to get back up and give it everything I had on the next play.

I know parents today are worried (and rightfully so) about their sons being injured, especially by concussions.  My dad told me to expect to be hurt playing football, but hopefully not injured.  My junior year I suffered a concussion when I was double teamed, but I went on to play football, making all conference my senior year (at 141 lbs.).

In life, we are often hurt, even injured.  Pem-Day football taught me to get back into the game of life and give it all I have.  Pembroke Hill can help form our students through many ways: academics, the arts, social life, character development, community involvement, etc.  Football just happened to be my way.

When I come back to Pembroke Hill for football games, Homecoming and other events, I am so excited about our school's diversity today.  I hear many different languages and see many, different colors and feel many different faiths.  I am not only excited for, but proud of, my school!  I am proud to be an alum and thankful for what Pem-Day taught me.  And now it is time for me to give back so others can have the opportunities that helped teach me about life.

I put Pembroke Hill prominently in my estate as a way to help others and to say, "Thank you, Pembroke Hill."