Beyond The Game: Not Easily Shaken

BY MARJORIE ACOSTA

In football, an offensive lineman is a protector. He’s immense in size and presence. Carl Pierre Louis fits the bill as a guard for the Varela High School football team. It would take something monumental to shake him; something like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

“I couldn’t see more than 5ft in front of me. The ground was trembling and you could see the cracks in the ground” says Carl as he remembers the day that changed his life.

Carl walked for hours through the darkness and chaos to reach his family. His mother was safe, but there was no sign of his father. Carl hoped his father was at a nearby hospital or rescue center. Weeks went by and Carl finally accepted that his father was gone.

Still coping with his father’s death, Carl made a difficult decision. His father’s biggest wish was for Carl to finish his education, even if it meant leaving his home and family. He knew staying in Haiti would hinder his progression in school, so Carl came to Miami and lived with his older brother. He remembers the day he left Haiti saying, “It was very hard leaving my mom by herself. She was emotional, and so was I. But I had to because I know that’s what my dad would want.”

Carl’s plan was to rebuild his life and focus on school, but there was one piece he didn’t count on: football. There was only one problem; Carl had never played football before. His coaches saw his potential. Head coach Matt Dixon has seen Carl’s progression first hand saying, “Coming from never playing the game, he’s become one of the top talents in Dade. His work ethic can’t be measured. He plays for a different reason.”

Carl’s natural talent developed quickly as he helped his team make it all the way to the playoffs. Just days away from the big game, tragedy hit again. His brother was shot and killed. He thinks back on the day saying, “His death weighed greater on me than my father’s. My dad just disappeared but my brother was with me yesterday.”

Carl pushed through his pain and played the big playoff game with his team. The memory of his brother gave him the strength to be there for his team. Carl has been through more hardship in two years than most kids his age will experience in a lifetime. Yet, his spirit has never faltered.

Now in his senior year of high school, Carl is looking forward to college. College football recruiters are knocking on his door and Carl says he’ll happily accept any offers that will help him complete his education. His ultimate goal is to become a chef.

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