At the beginning of last week, the Shrine Bowl East coaches imparted a simple, yet powerful message to their young all-star squad of recently graduated seniors from around the state.
The message was “INAM” or “It’s not about me.”
While it made plenty of sense to Blue Valley Northwest’s Dalton Schoen as a football catchphrase, it really hit home during the annual visit to the Shriners Hospital that Schoen made with his teammates.
“It really puts into perspective the whole reason for the game,” Schoen said. “It’s an eye-opening experience to hear their life stories, see all they have done and see what the Shriners Hospital has done for them.”
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Ben Ewing echoed his sentiment and said it was the highlight of his week.
“It definitely changed my life because it showed me how blessed I am,” Ewing said. “Seeing all the sick kids at the hospital made me realize that I have it good.”
The hospital visit was just part of the week that was planned out for the East and West All-Stars, who were nominated by coaches and selected by a media panel. They spent the week in two-a-day practices and played in the all-star game on Saturday night in Hays.
The East team topped the West 21-0 at Fort Hays State’s Lewis Field Stadium. It was the East’s second victory in the last 10 years.
Schoen, who recorded a Shrine Bowl record 169 receiving yards on five catches, added the final points of the game with an 84-yard touchdown reception from Troy’s Tristan Speer in the third quarter.
“I felt like I could get behind their defense well so I was talking to the coaches all through the game looking for that home run ball,” Schoen said. “In the first half, we did a halfback pass which we had been working on all week and it worked real well because I got behind the defense and they gave me a good ball. Later on, I got another deep ball because the line gave the quarterback time and he made a good throw to complete the pass. It was nice.”
Ewing said he enjoyed the opportunity to work with other players around the state that he played against in his high school career.
“I had already met a lot of those guys, but it brought me a lot closer to them because we are kind of like a brotherhood now,” Ewing said. “I met a lot of great players and great people.”