Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fred's Interview: Hawkeye at Heart

This is Aaron. I felt this was worthy of a post cause this is a Hawkeye Blog and he was almost a Hawkeye himself. And he's got a picture with the fake Captain Kirk.

Aaron Friederich was a 4 sport star at Forest City High School (3A) in north central Iowa. He played basketball, football, baseball and ran track. He holds virtually every major passing record in Forest City High School, along with having held multiple basketball records. He also ran at state track multiple times. Aaron was invited to walk-on to the football team after his senior year of high school, but declined to focus on his academics. He’s moved on to have a wildly successful intramural career. Aaron’s greatest accomplishment, however, is being my roommate for 3 years.

Josh Heyer: What was your favorite sport in high school and why?

Aaron Friederich: Basketball was my favorite because we were a hugely successful team, and more importantly than that my hometown of Forest City was undoubtedly a basketball town. Home and away, games were all packed gyms and there was an excitement there that no other sport, or surrounding school for that matter, experienced.

JH: Did that place any additional pressure on you during your career that your school was known as a "basketball school?"
AF: It definitely added pressure. Every opponent that we faced brought their very best game with a chance to beat us. We couldn't afford to slip up against anyone because the whole town wanted to see us in the state tournament. In season it was all anyone in town talked to the starters about and while everyone was very supportive it made us want the win for more than just ourselves.

JH: Do you have any regret today that you didn't ever make it to Des Moines?

AF: I wouldn't use the word regret, because I don't feel like there is a lot more we could have done as a team. We lost to a good team, and they actually had an exceptionally good game that night. Unfortunately, we were one of the top rated teams in the state and couldn't get there. Initially when we lost, I assumed that years down the road I would look back and hate the fact that we never made it, but leaving high school you learn to put different things into perspective.

JH : Do you have any records intact at Forest City?

AF: I had career, single season, and single game steals record but I think Brett Putz (St. Cloud State) broke those. I held the most 3 pointers for a sophomore, but Putz broke that too. I currently hold point total for a sophomore.

JH: Having a brother on the varsity teams for much of the same time you were on there, did that change how you practiced, prepared, played?

AF: Having Ryan play varsity sports with me was the best part of high school sports for me. In practice you never want to hit any of your friends unnecessarily hard in football, but brothers are supposed to crush each other, because you can't be the one who gave up first. Pre-game it was awesome to eat supper together or talk about the upcoming game together. Playing together was the best experience. You can always count on him to be the first one to high five you or slap you on the back. To be completely honest , my proudest moments on the court or field were when I saw Ryan make a great play, or ones we made together.

JH: What were your parents like at the games or even after them? Were they supportive, pushy, hard on you, etc.?

AF: My parents were never hard on me. My dad loved to watch us play sports, as well as my mom does. My parents were not hard on me by any stretch of the imagination. I could have quit everything at any point and they still would have been supportive. My mom actually only got upset in the stands one time, and that was a night where she thought I was being too 'cocky' on the floor. Otherwise they were 'team parents'. If you would have been across the gym you wouldn't have known which kid was theirs, and I was always glad that was the case. After the games there would be nights where me, dad and Ryan would sit in the kitchen for hours going over what might have happened in the game. It was never a lecture type atmosphere or anything like that, but more just recollecting what happened through the game or meet that night. We all enjoyed it.

JH: Did you have any superstitions in the locker room?

AF: In basketball, I was always the last one to get ready. I don't know if that was so much a superstition as much as I just hated to just sit and wait for the game to begin. I definitely was superstitious though, every game day I would have a foot long Subway roast beef sandwich with nothing on it. They would actually have it made for me when I would come in after school. I also wore the same white and red cutoffs under my home and away uniforms for all 3 years of varsity basketball. I couldn't find my white shirt one night. I didn't even get to the gym until after the girls game started because I was tearing the house up for it. When I got to the gym I found out my brother had it on under his shirt in the stands...needless to say I made him come in the locker room and take it off so I could wear it.

JH: Favorite memory from any sport at any age?

AF: My junior year we played at Osage the first game (our biggest conference rival) and we lost on my own buzzer-beater. Later that season we played them at home and it was the area news station's "Game of the Week". The gym was standing room only fifteen minutes before the girls’ game, and obviously nobody was interested in that game at all. I know at least a couple opposing teams from the conference came to watch a great game. The game was anything but great; we came out of the gates and destroyed them. We were up 25 points at half, and at no point in the game did the crowd get any less excited. The greatest feeling I’ve had on the floor was to win so convincingly over a top rated 2A team that had beaten us previously.

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