February 8, 2023 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Rydell looks to the future

Jackson Rydell’s first football season is his last football season.


The senior is playing playing football for the first time in his athletic career.

Rydell, who has played three sports during his time at SJO, doesn’t seem to mind that the football season was pushed back to spring, as opposed to its normal fall season.

“It seems normal to me, since I’ve never played in the fall, but for the others, I’m sure that it seems different to them. I’m just glad I got the opportunity to play this one time with my friends,” Rydell said.

Rydell played basketball in the winter months, and is playing baseball concurrently with football, as the final two games of the football season overlapped with the beginning of the baseball season.

Still, Rydell knows that during this unique time, the chance to play multiple sports at the same time is an opportunity that is normally not afforded to student-athletes at SJO.

“It’s tough (going from one sport to the other). At least in the fall, even though we didn’t have football, we still had contact days that we were able to meet as a team and learn some of the plays. That helped and gave us a leg up once regular practices began in March,” Rydell said.

Rydell said despite all the new guidelines for athletics, not much has changed for him.

“I don’t think that the pandemic has changed sports for me much. I just keep my head down and continue to work hard, striving to do keep doing what I can do. This pandemic is just another roadblock that we have to overcome, and we will get there,” Rydell said.

Rydell credits the friends that he has made and the opportunities to do things with those friends as one of the highlights of his high school memories.

“I’m just glad for the times that I’ve had with my friends throughout all of my high school days. Regarding my senior year, I want to keep it as normal as possible, although that is hard to do. Sort of like looking at it as if the pandemic never happened and what could have been,” Rydell said.

Rydell is still deciding the next step in his life, but no matter what he decides, it will involve college.

“I’ve got a college visit coming up for an opportunity to play basketball, but I also got accepted to the University of Illinois, so that is compelling as well. I need to make my decision soon, but whatever choice I make, I know I have options,” Rydell said.

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