‘TIMEOUT’ with North Lamar junior quarterback Dawson Dority
Each athlete has a story of what got them started competing in the wide world of sports. Some begin playing a sport when they are able to pick up a ball, while others blossom in one sport for years before quickly moving on to another. Others have totally different stories regarding their recreational beginnings.
Dawson Dority got a late start on the gridiron, but the North Lamar High School junior eventually found his role under the Friday-night lights.
“I guess I started little league sports when my dad got me into it, I didn’t really like football that much,” Dawson said. “I really liked basketball. I started out as a backup corner, then I got moved to tight end. I didn’t even start playing quarterback until the seventh grade.”
Steady improvement over time and through this season
The Panthers signal-caller learned to be flexible with his role from a young age. This year, Dawson has been able to develop his fundamentals and intangibles with the help of his head coach.
“I learned a lot more about leadership this year and Coach (Cooper) Crowell has really helped me with my footwork, progressions, and my reads,” Dawson said. “I just see the field a lot better.”
Fighting hard through adverse times
The 2020 season has thrown plenty of adversity the Panthers’ way. From injuries to the coronavirus to a lateral move into another highly difficult district, the Panthers have endured a great deal of misfortune. However, Dawson is proud to be a part of a team with high character and a willingness to compete for one another through any circumstance.
“I feel like everyone on the team has great character,” Dawson said. “Everyone just showing up is great. They all want to show up, work hard, and get better while playing for each other. We are learning a lot about being good men and want to make a difference in the world after high school.”
In addition to the other things he has learned, Dawson has personally seen his work ethic and commitment levels increase. Even when the going gets tough, Dawson is embracing any challenge thrown his way to help prepare him for the long run in life.
“I think football has taught me a lot about hard work and dedication,” Dawson said. “It gets rough sometimes and there are things you may not look forward to, but it teaches you to be an adult and handle things well that life throws at you.”
A once-in-a-lifetime encounter
Although he is a current competitor on the gridiron, Dawson is a fan of multiple sports. While visiting Boston, Massachusetts, Dawson watched the New England Patriots play and saw the Houston Astros take on the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS in 2017 with family and friends. One night, he and a friend encountered a unique opportunity and took full advantage.
“I met George Springer the centerfielder for the Astros. I met him the year he won the World Series MVP in a hotel in Boston,” Dawson said. “The whole team was staying in the hotel. We went to watch the Patriots and watched the Astros play the Red Sox. My friend Tyler Nottingham and I walked into the lobby and saw Jose Altuve and George Springer. Altuve was busy and my dad said, ‘Y’all have to go take a picture with him!’ It was really cool.”
A series of unfortunate eighth-grade events
Even though he possesses a wise and mature demeanor, even Dawson cannot escape embarrassing moments. In junior high, he was on the receiving end of a kick to the head so memorable, that spending two months in concussion protocol could not shake his memory of this unfortunate event.
“I was in my eighth-grade year, and we had a Halloween pep rally as we do each year. The football players dressed up and danced to the song ‘Single Ladies’ for the whole school,” Dawson said. “There was a moment in the song where different sections of our group would freestyle. One kid decided to do a cartwheel and he roundhouse kicked me in the jaw. He was one of the smallest kids in our grade, but he knocked me out and I woke up in the locker room. Somehow, I finished my routine and I couldn’t even remember who my mom was. I was in the concussion protocol for two months.”
On the other hand, Dawson and his teammates were spectators for another embarrassing moment in the eighth grade. This time no one was harmed, aside from a big man’s separation anxiety from his mother.
“The funniest thing I heard a player say in a situation was something else,” Dawson said. “In eighth grade, we were beating Liberty-Eylau at home by, like, 25 points. Then all of a sudden, all the lights went out. It was pitch black out there. Liberty-Eylau had a 6-foot-4, 300-pound dude curl up on the ground and yell, ‘Where’s my momma?’ He was killing us the whole night, too, but we all thought he was about to start crying there.”
How Dawson recharges his batteries
Whether he has to recharge from a vicious head kick or a stressful week at school, Dawson tries to enjoy quality time with people in his corner.
“I guess my happy place is hanging out with people I care about,” Dawson said. “I get my mind off of stressful things and can just be loose and have fun with people close to me.”
Dawson and the Panthers will take on No. 5-ranked Gilmer at 7:30 p.m. tonight at R.L. Maddox Stadium. The Panthers are trying to pull off the upset to record their first win of the season. For more sports coverage, click here.