Boys Varsity Football
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East Grand Rapids' Stuart Kettler listens to instructions during a practice on Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Patrick Nothaft | MLive.com)
EAST GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Even after a dozen years, Stuart Kettler's first football practice is ingrained into his memory.
And they're not necessarily good memories.
Encouraged to join the football team by his father and former Grand Valley State University offensive lineman, David Kettler, Stuart strapped up a helmet for the first time in fifth grade.
"I remember that entire practice," Kettler said. "I remember getting done, and I told my parents I want to quit. I told them I never wanted to play football again.
"They said, 'No, just give it some time,' but I was convinced that I was terrible and was never going to do this."
Fortunately for Kettler and his current East Grand Rapids teammates, he didn't quit football, and what transpired over the next 12 years is proof the sport rewards hard work and determination.