With senior athletes seeing the final months of their high school careers affected both on and off the fields and away from the gyms, The Ruden Report is running a series, Senior Moments, to put the spotlight on some of the best of the Class of 2020.
Next up is Drew Phillips of the Wilton baseball and football teams.
TRR: When you heard the season was canceled what was your initial reaction?
DP: I woke up and checked my phone and saw a bunch of texts from teammates and Coach (Tim) Eagen and our assistant coaches breaking the news, saying the season was canceled. We had held on to hope for a while, that maybe we would get something going, have a reduced season in June. When that final verdict came in it was tough. There’s just a lot you look forward to in your last real season as a senior in high school. My initial reaction was just kind of disbelief. It was kind of surprising that you could still be in disbelief given all that we have been going through the past two months.
TRR: What aspect of being part of a team did you miss most?
DP: It goes from everything to the locker room to getting out there and winning games. I think what I’ll definitely miss the most is competing, whether it’s the senior that you’ve been playing with all your life by your side playing middle infield with you, or it’s the freshman or sophomore getting pulled up on varsity and you kind of have to help him calm the nerves and gain his confidence to really get the team going and on the same page and firing on all cylinders. Just motivating the guys and that camaraderie that you can’t find anywhere else but sports.
TRR: You have decided not to play sports in school, at Miami of Ohio. Does that make this even harder?
DP: Definitely. There have definitely been some days where I have turned on old football film and just gone through photos of old games and moments and talked with my teammates and even coaches for a while just reliving everything. It’s definitely going to sit with me for a while that this is it, I never really got that closure. If you told me back in December that my last sporting event was going to be that state playoff game I would have told you that you were crazy.
TRR: What made you choose not to continue your athletic career and attend Miami?
DP: I had a few preferred walk-on offers at some schools that I was really interested in going to my senior year of football. I was pretty sure football was the route I wanted to take with school, but after my collarbone junior year and getting my shoulder surgery for a torn labrum my senior year it kind of just opened my eyes a little bit. How I have to put my health above everything and take that all into consideration and kind of come to the conclusion that my health is No. 1 and being a student and not a student-athlete would be the best situation for me to be in the next four years.
TRR: Do you know what you want to study?
DP: I’m in the business school. I’m business-undeclared so I have some time to figure it out when I get there to see what my path is.
TRR: This fall will be the first time in 12 years that Wilton doesn’t have a Phillips playing sports. How will the program survive?
DP: The athletic department at Wilton, with the athletes it’s the best of the best. All of us four brothers are going to miss Wilton sports dearly and they have so much talent and so much leadership that goes on behind the scenes, and even on the field. It’s a great town to grow up and play sports in. Wilton is definitely in good hands.
TRR: How is your father going to fill the void?
DP: I don’t know. That’s a great question. The football guys will probably hear him in the stands for the next few years, I’m guessing.
TRR: Is there anything you have done the past two months with the extra free time that you hadn’t before?
DP: That’s actually funny that you ask because just recently my brother Kyle and I have been trying to give each other some haircuts. I’d give myself a pretty good rating. He might stay otherwise but I was proud of what I was able to do with his hair.
TRR: What will you miss most about Wilton High School?
DP: That’s tough because there is just so much that goes into four years at a high school. Seeing your favorite teachers in the morning that gives you that boost to get through the day, whether it’s getting out on the football field or the baseball field and getting rid of that stress from whatever it may be, classes or school or just your social life, family, whatever it is. Just having that escape, and in those little moments, whether it’s with your friends between classes or whatever it may be. You are in your hometown and it all feels right. That’s what I’m definitely going to miss most.