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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022 1 week ago

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Dawson McLaughlin

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McLaughlin recently was named a finalist for the Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship.
by: Andrea Mujica Staff Writer

Foundation Academy senior and football team center Dawson McLaughlin recently was named a finalist for the Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship. This Positive Coaching Alliance scholarship awards high school student-athletes $1,000 or more based on answers regarding how they make themselves better, their teammates better and the game better. 

Tell us about your years as an athlete in both basketball and football.
I’ve been an athlete since I was little. I played basketball in elementary school, because my dad was a basketball coach, so that’s when I kind of started to learn how to compete. … And I started football in middle school, (and) I fell in love with it. But, I love playing football and basketball together, because they both complement each other in a way. Playing basketball helps me in football in a lot of different ways. 

How do you believe basketball helps you in football? 
I have good footwork as an offensive lineman because of basketball, and it just kind of helps me pick up on things faster. And … it’s taught me to be able to compete against better athletes and not be intimidated by better athletes, so that kind of transferred over into football. 

What do you love about both sports? 
I just like to compete; it’s fun. (In) football, I love just the physicality of it … (and) I like the brotherhood of football. … There’s so many things of football that I can just use outside of football. Same thing with basketball, (even though) I’m not the fastest or most athletic player in the team. I like to be able to use my head and be smarter than other players and be more fundamental. 

What’s your favorite part about being a Lion? 
I love being a Lion. … (Foundation is) more than a school where you learn and play sports — everyone really cares about (one another).

What does this scholarship mean to you? 
When I started to think about the question it was asking, answering it really helped me find who I was as an athlete. It helped me acknowledge that. 

Who do you think you are as an athlete? 
As an athlete, I should be able to understand that I’m not fixed into one certain thing that I have to be. I can do whatever the team (and teammates) needs me to be — as a leader, athlete or player. 

How do you believe you instill leadership within your team(s)?
One thing my dad asked me going into this year was, ‘What do you wish — being a senior — that the leaders would’ve done when you were a freshman?’ I wished that the seniors had connected with the underclassmen better. So that’s one of the things I try to do as a leader, and as an older player, try to connect with every player on the team. 

What’s your favorite movie? 
I have to say probably “Avengers: Endgame.” I love Marvel. 

What TV series are you watching right now? 
“The Walking Dead.” It’s an interesting concept. It really values the brotherhood of people trying to do something together. 

What’s your favorite hobby? 
I do like watching movies and TV, that’s something I’d always liked. We have a class for TV production here and something that’ fun was making videos and putting them together. 

Any secret talents you’d like to share with us? 
I fold my hands and put my pointer fingers up, and I can make them look like a snake that’s dancing. I was in middle school (when I found out I could do it). 

What are three things you would take with you to a deserted island? 
A lighter to make a fire, a flare gun and maybe a phone … so I can play games.

What are three places you would like to visit? Why? 
I feel like it would be cool to see Israel. Australia would be cool and maybe probably somewhere in Europe — maybe Italy. 

Who’s your favorite superhero? Why? 
Probably Thor. They did a really good job with his character about how he’s been through a lot. He’s lost a lot in his life, but he’s never lost himself, and he’s always been able to overcome obstacles. 

If you could have a superpower, which one would it be and why? 
I feel like lighting powers would be cool. 

Where would you like to go to college? 
I would love to go anywhere that I can play football but I also want to look at the school first. I like UCF, I’ve toured the campus, and I really liked it. I’ve been a Notre Dame fan for football, so I would love to go there if I could. 

Have you been in touch with any colleges for football? 
I’ve talked to the Southeastern University, LaGrange College, Wabash College, so smaller schools. 

What would you like to study in college? 
I’ve thought about TV production, marketing or sports business. 

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Andrea Mujica is a staff writer for the West Orange Times & Observer, the Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida....

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