On Friday, November 6th, Dillard High School held an assembly/pep rally on the eve of their “Soul Bowl” game against Pompano Beach Blanche Ely High School. The assembly was also to welcome back one of their favorite sons, former NFL Wide Receiver Issac Bruce, graduate of Dillard High in 1990. He presented the principal of Dillard High School with a golden leather, Wilson brand football commemorating the NFL’s 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl Championship game. This is part of the NFL’s Super Bowl High School Honor roll initiative where 3,000 coaches and players who were on an active Super Bowl roster could deliver these footballs to their local high schools. The NFL would also provide Dillard High School with a new character education curriculum and give the school the opportunity to apply for up to $5,000 in grants to improve their football programs. Old Spice also accompanied Issac at the assembly to talk to students about their grooming products and how to use them properly.
Eric Labrador: Tell me what you are doing at Dillard High School today?
Issac Bruce: I am here along with Old Spice and the NFL as part of the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll initiative and will be presenting a commemorative golden football to the principal of Dillard High as the NFL is celebrating its golden anniversary of Super Bowl games this coming February. Old Spice is a longtime partner with the NFL and we will also show students how to up their personal grooming game and find their favorite Old Spice scent.
EL: Tell me your definition of style?
IB: I think we all have influences from others as we grow up. We are carbon copies of others and no one is plain or vanilla. Having a positive mentor helps you in developing your style–your mindset, your clothes selection comes from that. I wanted to play football and compete at the highest level so I copied people who had already done that, sometimes directly through talking to them and sometimes indirectly from observation.
EL: Tell me Fort Lauderdale’s style (its character, not just the tourist areas)?
IB: I have two different view points on that because I live on Las Olas now (a tourist area) and its a great place to raise a family, the shopping is great (just ask my wife) and I wanted to live somewhere where I could see the ocean, so the style is laid back, it flows. But when I was growing up, I lived only a few minutes from Las Olas and I wasn’t able to go over there until after I came back from college one year and I went to the beach with friends.
EL: Explain the significance of athletic sports at Dillard High School?
IB: The sports tradition here is successful with Championships in Football and Basketball, it is an “athletic powerhouse”. When I was attending here as a student and I went to try out for the football team, there were 120 kids trying out and all played because no one got cut. I didn’t play significant time till I was a senior because guys were so good. The benefit of playing at Dillard High School was their was no entitlement. You were challenged to the be the best at what you did and the expectations were the same of every player at practice (no special treatment). Everyone practiced the same drills and you were demoted if you missed a practice. The coaches at Dillard show this even today where their attitude hasn’t changed and they are concerned with shaping young men.
EL: What message would you want to convey to High School players that get glorified for their athletic talent at the High School level but aren’t able to cope at higher levels of the sport upon facing adversity (competition, grasping different systems)?
IB: As an athlete in the program, I had to fight for my position every week and it was instilled in me that you had to show up and produce all the time or else I wouldn’t be able to play. I felt that was the best way to have it although I didn’t agree with it at times but it shaped me and the other athletes on the team into who we are today. Now at every level of football from Little League on up, there is a sense of entitlement to play where if a player gets benched by the coach or is beat out by another player for a position, the player can’t deal with it and wants to transfer to another school. These attributes are missing in today’s sports environment.