Living life to the fullest is no easy feat. Some people try so hard to achieve what they think will make them happy, that they forget to observe the little things that matter most in life. One person who does appreciate the small things is a U.S history teacher at Seneca Valley, Donald Holl.
In high school, Holl played football, and wasn’t too bad at it. In his senior year of high school Mr. Holl was asked to play football for the U.S. Navy at the naval academy. Intrigued with the opportunity to play football while learning to serve his country, Mr. Holl accepted. When asked how special was it to be able to play football for the Navy, Holl responded, “You don’t go there to play football, you don’t go there for the education. you go there knowing that you’re being trained to serve in the military. Football was just a huge bonus.”
And serve he did. Holl went to twenty different countries with the Navy. Through different cruses like through the Mediterranean or through the Baltic, he’s been all over the world. “We were the first U.S Navy war ship in Poland since before Hitler invaded in 1939.” One of the many memorable moments from Donald’s time in the Navy, another was when he spent time in Germany and got a piece of the Berlin wall that was still being cleaned up. Conveniently Mr. Holl was in Berlin when Germany won the world cup. While talking about that a smile slid across his face and he said, “It was absolute bedlam, everyone was so happy and just having a good time. Yeah, you weren’t paying for a lot of beers that night.”
After his time in the Navy Holl quickly searching for a job teaching history. when asked what his favorite time period to teach was Mr. Holl said, “I’m very fortunate that I get to teach in my favorite time period in U.S. history, U.S. History three and four picks up right before the first World War and end right after the Cold War.” He continued, “If there was anything I’d also like to talk about it would be the Civil war, or the Revolutionary war, I’ve never really been into Mid-evil or ancient times. I really like teaching about how our country came to be.” A well said answer from the all american U.S navy veteran, football coach.
History class is not the only thing Mr. Holl teaches; he is also a Football coach. I asked Donald why he had such a love for football. he stated, “I really does reflect the journey to success, in every play ten other guys are depending on you. When in life aren’t people depending on you?” he continued the comparison with football and life. “Going through life you have to do somethings that you don’t want to, things that will get you hurt, but you got to do your job anyway. Its the only game where there are five guys in every play that know unless everything goes absolutely wrong they aren’t going to tough the ball, and they still have to their job to do and they do it without getting credit so other guys on the team can do their job and get credit, and that’s life in a nutshell.” One of my favorite things Mr. Holl said to me during our interview was while he was talking about the many opportunities football has brought him. He said, “I definitely gave a lot to the sport, but everything that I gave I got way more back from it.”
The last thing we talked about together was his family. Anyone who knows Donald will tell you that his family is very important to him, as well as they make him proud. Listening to him talk about his family was like watching a family film. HE said that his favorite thing to do with is family was just to be together, “Just the peace of mind knowing everyone is there and safe, even with all the noise, or arguing, or video games knowing everyone is there is a really good feeling.” Mr. Holl stated that his family loves going to the beach, he described it as a place to relax and just be a family. he has about a decade before he retires but Mr Holl and his wife plan on retiring to the South Carolina so they can live on the beach. “If i never had to shovel after another snow storm, or use the snow blower, or scrape another window that would be okay too.” Mr. Holl does say that perhaps after he retires he may become a substitute or a football coach in South Carolina. But what else can you expect from the all american man.