Young men often turn to athletics in pursuit of confidence and camaraderie. Some simply want to have fun, but most athletes strive to compete and have a deep desire to win. They follow in the footsteps of their role models and try to emulate the things they’ve seen, hoping their efforts will parlay into future success.
Erick Parsons is no different.
Erick, a standout linebacker and wrestler for Turlock High, found his competitive inspiration through stories about a father he never knew. Erick’s father, Rick Parsons, died alongside Erick’s older brother, Tyler, in Yosemite when Erick was only 16 months old. Rick, an accomplished football player at both Madera High and Fresno City College, had attempted to save Tyler after they were both pulled into the falls.
“A huge part of his motivation was his dad,” Erick’s mother, Michelle Parsons said. “He never really got to know him. The only way he connected was through what I told him and what other people told him about what kind of person and player he was.”
“I’ve always had an urge to (play football),” Erick said. “Mostly because of my dad.”
Erick started playing football at age 9 for the Turlock Vikings. Five years later Erick joined the freshman team at Turlock High, where he first grasped and understood the possibilities football could afford him.
“I started to realize it was a way to better myself in different ways of life,” Erick said. “I realized I could do something with it.”
With his newfound realization Erick sharpened his focus and committed himself to excel in both academics and athletics. He joined the wrestling team under the guidance of Coach John Belew and began to dedicate himself to his team. After sitting out with injuries his junior year, Erick helped lead Turlock to a 7-4 season and a playoff berth. As a captain for the varsity team Erick finished the season with 112 tackles, 3 interceptions for 119 yards and 13 points scored. Erick also helped on the offensive side of the ball, finishing with an average of 4.25 yards a carry.
“I like being able to be the one out there to help my team. Whenever I was out there I was looking to make good plays and help our team out,” Erick said.
For his efforts Erick was named team MVP and awarded the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commemorative coin. He was also invited to training camps in San Francisco and Ohio, where he was noticed and invited to participate in the High School Senior All-Star Football Game in Tampa, Fla.
Erick’s performance on the football field has also garnered attention from multiple universities such as UC Davis, Dartmouth, Nevada, Pacific, and Southern Oregon. Erick hopes his participation in the All-Star game, which will be televised on the East Coast, will earn the attention of more schools and broaden his horizons.
“Playing football and wrestling are just means of getting to where he needs to be in college,” Michelle Parsons said. “Erick has high aspirations for his future and he always has.”
The All-Star game will be played on Jan. 14 in Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I’m actually pretty ready for it,” Erick said. “I just have to prepare myself mentally and go back to what I’ve learned throughout my years of playing for Turlock, put it to use and hope I do my best.”
To contact Frankie Tovar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.