BALLSTON SPA, NY − The Ballston Spa High School Football team was paid a special visit Thursday afternoon following a practice behind the Ballston Spa campus. 

Malachi Jones and Collin Taylor from the Arena Football League's 2019 Arenabowl Champion Albany Empire paid a visit to the teams facilities to discuss what it takes to be a top tier athlete and how to treat their bodies in-season. 

"We had a general idea of what we wanted to talk about, but we wanted to hear what the doctors had to say and we wanted to feed off of them," said Jones. "Collin does a great job with that kind of stuff, being in a strength and conditioning background. I talked from personal experience. I thought it went really well."

"We love stuff like this," added Taylor. "I remember growing up and the impact people in higher positions had on me when I head them speak. − If there is one thing I say that connects with someone and they add it into their routine and helps them succeed, then we have won."

And what a duo for the Scotties to lend an ear to on an early Thursday afternoon. Jones is the 2019 and 2018 AFL Receiver of the Year, the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year, a two-time First Team All-Arena, and the 2018 Rookie of the Year. 

Taylor made 40 catches for 420 yards this season, averaging about ten and a half yards per catch, adding four touchdowns to his stat line. 

A walk on at Indiana University, Taylor preached the importance of a good attitude and work ethic every time you hit the gridiron. 

"I was a walk on at Indiana, and I needed to fight everyday for my spot on the team," said Taylor to the high school team.

"Hard work seems to be the topic of most of my talks and conversations," said Taylor. "I had a little different path coming up and I know I remember realizing very early on that I had to work a lot harder that a lot of other people had to. I feel like I am in a position in my professional career and have a platform to really preach that and get that in these kids brains."

The visit was coordinated by Waqas Pervaiz, D.C, and Robert Block, D.C, with Malta Chiropractic and Sports Rehab, the official chiropractics of the Albany Empire. 

"They are great guys," said Dr. Block on the Empire. "From working with them all year, the team and the players were great to work with. Beyond that, they are just great guys. They are as nice and humble as they showed there, and I think it resonated."

"It comes naturally to them, especially for the community membership," said Dr. Pervaiz. "Having them give back, be it the high school or middle school level, was amazing to have."

All Malta Chiropractic and Sports Rehab needed to do was to call up their friends in Albany and they knew that a few members of the team would make their way down. 

"It was an immediate yes − there was no hesitation and they were going to get someone out to talk with the boys," said Dr. Block. "They are great for the community and it's been great for us to work with them."

Malta Chiropractic and Sports Rehab has a special relationship with the Ballston Spa football team as well. Ballston Spa first year head coach Jason Ohnsman and the doctors have built a relationship over strength and conditioning techniques, leading to opportunities such as Thursdays where the Ballston Spa Football team had a chance to learn how professionals take care of there body. 

"Realistically, we work 15 times a year," said Taylor to the team. "That means we have to work extremely hard to keep ourselves right, or else lose our jobs."

Taylor discussed more of his personal journey and the amount of effort it took for him to get where he had gotten. Jones, talked about his growing up and how he was raised to always eat healthy. 

"I never got to drink soda. Just water, gatorade, and a sweet tea once in awhile," said Jones.

Jones' father was a starting defensive end on the 1988 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team and was drafted in the seventh round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jones also has two brothers who are professional athletes. His older brother, T.J Jones, was a draft pick for the Detroit Lions in 2014 and is now a member of the New York Giants. Jones' younger brother, Jahmai Jones, was a second round pick for the Los Angelas Angels. Jahmai is currently at the Double-A level. 

"To enjoy it while it lasts," said Jones on the one thing he hoped the Scotties took away from the meeting. "Looking back, it flew by. Enjoy it and understand that there are plenty of opportunities to further your career if you do the right things. When you're in the classroom, or you are taking care of your body, you are doing the right things on and off the field."

"I had people tell me that in high school and I didn't hear any of it until I was 25-26 years old," said Taylor on his message of hard work and fighting for everything you have. "If I can have them leave with something to remember it is to work hard at everything the do. It doesn't need to just be if they want to be athletes. If they want to be teachers, if they want to be firefighters, whatever they want to do, just to work as hard as they possibly can and really the sky is the limit from there."

The Scotties seemed to hang on every word the passionate and energetic Taylor and Jones spoke to them. The Empire teammates seemed to have fun themselves with their community outreach. 

"Who to have a better guy to speak with than Collin Taylor," joked Jones afterwards. 

comments powered by Disqus