Nutley Male Athlete of the Month

Dante Contella NHS senior, Football team

When did you start playing football? What are some of the benefits of the game?
I started playing flag football in first grade, then tackle football in third grade and I have been playing ever since. Some benefits are that once you’re on the field you can forget about everything else in your life and just focus on football. Like most sports, you get a physical and mental benefit while also doing something you love. It is also great for building friendships because you can always crack some jokes with your teammates at practice, but you also have to immensely trust each of your teammates on every play and that reliability builds a strong friendship.

Do you have any special memories from all those years?
I make great memories every day on the field and I love laughing with my teammates every day. Out of all the memories though, my favorite would probably be when we won the Super Bowl when I was in seventh grade. It was great because our whole team played with each other from the beginning. All of our hard work really paid off after all the years and it was a nice feeling to win the championship.

Who are some of the influences in your life so far?
While there are too many to name, all of my coaches and teachers have had a huge impact on me as a person. My parents are also extremely impactful because they always support me and have taught me to be the best person I can be.

What advice would you give young players just starting out in football?
Some advice that I would give a young player would be to always have heart and try your hardest on every play. You might not always be the biggest, strongest or the fastest kid on the field, but if you go 100 percent every down, you’ll never fail to impress yourself on how good you truly are. Football is a tough sport and many kids take plays off, but if you are giving your best effort every play, you will shine on the field.

Do you have a favorite team or athlete?
My favorite football team is the Oakland Raiders and I’ve loved them from when I was little, since my dad is also a Raiders fan. However, my favorite athlete is Steph Curry, who is a basketball player who was at first very underrated, but has overcome much adversity to become an NBA superstar and one of the best to ever play the game.

Besides playing football, what else do you do for fun?
I love playing lacrosse, hanging out with my friends, or just watching some TV. I also participate in clubs like FCA weekly, which is great because you can have fun and give back to the community.

What kind of music do you listen to? Any favorite musical artists?
Mostly, I will listen to rap or hip-hop because it is my favorite genre. My favorite artist is the rapper Lil Uzi Vert.

Any post-graduation plans?
I plan to go to a four-year college to study either computer science or business, which are majors I have always been interested in. I am also eager to continue athletics and play at the next level in college at some of the schools I have been talking
to because sports are such a huge part of my life.