'Here is our Renaissance man'

q&a graham spicer, wilde lake, football

November 20, 2008|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall introduces the Wildecats' kicker Graham Spicer this way: "Here is our Renaissance man," he said, describing him as a student with wide interests who is an expert in several of them.

"He is a neat kid," said DuVall. "He got 800 on his math SAT. He couldn't do any better than that."

Spicer, a 6-foot, 185-pound senior, has a 3.57 grade point average and has come through in the clutch this season. His other interests include music and playing Ultimate Frisbee.

In three early season games that Wilde Lake won by one, one and three points, Spicer kicked field goals in each of them.

The Wildecats have built a 10-1 record and are hosts for the 3A East regional championship game tomorrow, thanks in part to Spicer's 36-for-39 performance on extra points and his 3-for-5 effort on field goal attempts.

I understand you did extremely well on your math SAT.

I got a perfect score of 800. I'd been working toward it, but I had to take the test a second time to get it. I got 760 the first time because of careless mistakes. It was pretty irritating. I had gotten perfect scores on the practice tests we take, and the questions I missed were rated 'easy'. It was just a matter of losing concentration.

Did your coach have a few words to say about the concentration lapse? I know football coaches stress the need for concentration on the football field.

Focus is really important in football, especially in kicking. You only have one chance to get it right. Taking a test is a little different. Both require focus, but if you lose your focus for a few minutes during a test, you can make it up - either during that same test, by going back over your answers if you have time, or by taking it again. Focus is more important, I think, in kicking. You can take the SATs as many times as you want.

Do your teammates tease you a little about that perfect 800 score?

Some of them. Some ask how they can get better scores. One guy just keeps asking me what I got, over and over. I try to be humble. It's not a big deal. It shouldn't affect how someone else sees me or acts around me.

Are you going to major in science or math in college?

Yes. I want to major in one of them and continue to play football in college. We've made a list of about 10 schools and we're narrowing it down. I visited Johns Hopkins, Dickinson, Dartmouth, Colgate and Bucknell. I really want to go to a school with good academics, and if I can play football that would be nice.

What do your parents do?

My dad is a professor at Johns Hopkins and my mom works at the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins. My brother Calum is going to Johns Hopkins.

Does all that mean you have your heart set on going to Johns Hopkins?

No. I would kind of like to get away from Johns Hopkins.

Do you have other interests beyond football and schoolwork?

Yes. I play rec league soccer, and the school has an Ultimate Frisbee club team that I play on. I play trumpet in band, and I also play bagpipes.

What is Ultimate Frisbee, and how did you get interested in bagpipes?

Ultimate Frisbee is played on a field, not unlike a football field, and you try to shuttle the Frisbee down the field by passing it to your teammates. When it's dropped, you lose possession. It takes speed and coordination.

My mom, she was born in Scotland. She has played bagpipes since she was a teenager, and she got me started when I was 8 years old. It's difficult to play a trumpet, but it's 10 times easier than playing bagpipes. It's so much more complicated. And when I started as a kid, my hands were small and that made it more difficult, because you have to be able to squeeze the bag. But I did it. When I got bigger, it became infinitely easier.

I used to play in a band, a bagpipe band with five to 20 other bagpipers and people with drums. We'd play marches and different tunes. We'd enter contests in which you're judged on the interpretation of the music, and the marching is important. The marching ties in to the synchronization. You can get burned out on it when you're in competition. Ten hours of bagpipes - by the end of the day a bagpipe is the last thing you want to hear. But some of the songs are melodic and beautiful."

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