A Friendship Forged On and Off the Football Field

Seniors Hadi Attia and Jonathan Mulatu display the true meaning of friendship.

Lydia Dawit, Staff Writer

One of Lee High School’s biggest families is the varsity football family. Made up of many students ranging from sophomores to seniors, it is one of the biggest teams aside from track and field. Some students have played football all their lives while others may have just started in high school. Some students are new to the team while others are veterans. Being a senior on the team is a very special thing because not only are you experiencing everything for the last time, you also develop great relationships through the years.

One good pair of friends who are seniors, lineman Hadi Attia, and running back Jonathan Mulatu are perfect examples of this. Whether they are on or off the field, these guys display the meaning of true friendship and know the definition of having each other’s backs at any cost.

Attia says that the best way for him to really make an impact on the team, he has to be able to not only do his job well but also to raise up the new generation of Lancers and guide them to meet the standards of excellence..

“I try to give good advice to the underclassmen because as a senior, I have played longer than them, and I don’t want them to make the same mistakes as I did,” Attia said.

When he isn’t training other players, Attia is doing his best to make sure that Mulatu is taken care of, both on and off the field.

“I understand his concepts and what he wants during plays. It’s my job to block the key person so that they don’t attack him and to create holes for him to successfully run through,” Attia said.

While this may not seem like a big responsibility to many, Attia expresses that there are some difficulties he faces.

“Jon is really big and he’s fast. So I have to really clear the area for him to get through without limiting or hurting him or getting hurt myself,” Attia said.

But to Attia, all of this is made easier thanks to the friendship he has with Mulatu off the field.

“ We have a strong chemistry, on and off the field. We’re like brothers. We’re so close that we often do the same things, and we understand each other’s motives so not much has to said on the field. We just know,” Attia said.

Senior John Mulatu expressed that he is grateful to have Attia in his life-both on and off the field. He also believes that the way he contributes to the team as a player and as a friend is a strong asset to the team’s welfare.

“I think that I am a vocal leader to the underclassmen, leading by example, and as a player, I think that I am versatile, and I contribute to my team the way that I am needed and asked to,” said Mulatu.

Mulatu, who received a full scholarship to play football at UPenn, expresses his gratitude to Attia for making his success possible. Whether it be on the field during a play or off the field in life, Mulatu remembers Attia always being a strong tower for him.

“ Hadi does a really good job of run blocking, and he does a really good job of leading the way when I have the ball, making my job easier. We just help each other become better people and influence each other to do good things and really just have fun together” said Mulatu.

Both players were separately asked about their best moment of their four years on the team was.

“My best moment was definitely the JEB [Stuart] game, where I did the best block I’ve ever done that had enabled John to run 44 yards on our first year on varsity. That’s when we knew it was over for JEB,” Attia said.

“I would have to say my best moment was the JEB Stuart game. He [Attia]  had a really good block for me and even though I didn’t score, I ran 44 yards which really put us ahead and it was our first year on varsity,” Mulatu said.

Both players were interviewed separately, in different weeks, but both gave the same answer proving the point that the friendship between the two is a strong one.

When many people hear of Mulatu, they think about the Lee student athlete who got the impressive scholarship. But it is fair to say that Attia was a contributing factor in that scholarship and to the advancement of Mulatu’s athletic career. Both Mulatu and Attia deserve accolades for their hard work as a team.