At the end of every year, the seniors at University School (Cleveland, OH) share a final senior speech with the entire school in what has turned into a very special event.

This year, assistant coach Brian Kennedy put together a short video featuring the messages from a few of the seniors where they answer “Why Football?” and in the process share what football has meant to them.

Senior Ben Hebert, who had never played football before deciding to go out his senior year, talked about the perception of football, and it’s contrasting reality realized only by those who participate in it.

After talking about a fall day where he found himself reflecting on the decision to come out for football, he noted “I learned a lot from my brief football career. Really all football players learn the same lessons I did, but because they’ve been playing their whole lives, I feel they don’t really appreciate those lessons.”

“I learned how to connect with people. All different kinds of people. All united in reaching one common goal. Although football gets the reputation of being the manliest sport, I realized that it is also one of the most intimate. As ironic as it is, the more kids bang and bruise each other, the closer they become. In no other athletic environment have I encountered this degree of brutal intimacy.”

A few other seniors share some eloquent and eye opening perspective as well in the clip. The video is really special, and will make the heart of even the toughest coach swell with pride a bit.