Throughout high school, Wayne Marviglio would watch from the bleachers as his son, Ryan, played football for the Railroaders.
The same thing happened last year, as Marviglio sat in the bleachers at East Field to watch his son play defensive end for the Glens Falls Greenjackets.
This year, however, Marviglio has found a new place to cheer his son on from – the sidelines.
Both Wayne, 48, and Ryan, who graduated in 2006, are members of the Greenjackets, coached by current Whitehall varsity coach John Millett.
“This is my second year with them,” said Ryan Marviglio, who starred as a lineman for the Railroaders in high school. “Coach Millett came and asked me to play. I missed high school football and this was an awesome chance to play the sport. It’s great to still be able to do it.”
During the 2008 Greenjackets season, Wayne Marviglio sat in the bleachers to support his son, but saw that there were plenty of players on the field who were about his age.
“Last year, they had a hockey player on the team that had never played football before,” he said. “He was my age and I said to myself that if he could do it, so could I.”
“He was always telling me that he could get out there and do it last year,” said Ryan Marviglio. “When he was set to try out, my first thought was, I hope he doesn’t get hurt.”
“Once Ryan was done last season and decided that he was going to play again this year, I decided to go with him,” said Wayne Marviglio. “I could always run. We always played catch together out in the front yard of our house, and I wanted to try this out and do something with him.”
Ryan Marviglio said he was pleased that his father tried out for the team and made the squad, which would continue their relationship when it came to the sport he loved.
“He was there at every game in high school always telling me to try my hardest,” said the younger Marviglio.
“I tried to be at all the games that my kids played in,” said Wayne Marviglio. “Every year, I would follow Ryan around. The only place I didn’t go was when he went to play in Australia.”
Wayne Marviglio said the violence of the hits in the game was the biggest surprise for him.
“Getting clobbered was a shock,” he said. “I got hit by O.C. West the second week of practice. I had a black and blue mark on the side of my arm for two weeks, and it took a while to roll out of bed the next morning.”
Both father and son said Wayne Marviglio’s participation in the sport has changed their football relationship.
“It’s different because he doesn’t yell to me as much,” said Ryan Marviglio. “In high school, I would hear him yelling from the stands saying I should have done this or that. Now he knows that it is much harder than it looks.”
“It’s a whole different perspective,” said the father. “I actually play Ryan’s position on the field, and the funny part is there were times when I would watch him in high school and he would do something that I thought was wrong. Now I know that there are times where there are plays where you are not supposed to go all the way through the line, you need to fill a gap. It’s not as easy as it looks.”
Overall, Wayne Marviglio said, he has enjoyed his first season as a football player.
“I wish I had done this 20 years ago,” he said. “I am enjoying this chance to play with a great coaching staff, including coach Millett, and a great group of players, but most importantly being on the field with my son, Ryan.”