This week is Chandler Maddock’s swan song to football. Following his performance in Saturday’s 2019 Shrine Bowl Game he’s going to walk away from the game he excelled at and toward the life he’s envisioned.
And it’s a fitting way to go out for the Thermopolis standout. Four years ago his brother Choc represented Thermopolis in the Shrine Bowl. Watching his brother left a lasting impression.
“I always wanted to play here,” he said after Tuesday’s practice. “I had a brother play here and I knew that was a goal I could set. It was achievable.”
Following the family’s move to a ranch outside Thermopolis, young Chandler kept playing football with his goal of making the Shrine Bowl. He was typically one of the better players around the playground and once he made it to high school he was finally able to show his merit.
He loved it. Not only because of the freedom he felt with a ball cradled under his arm but also for what football offers that none of its peers can.
“It’s a legal way to hurt people,” he said. “It’s a chance to get back at someone. It’s way fun.”
That enjoyment subsided when Maddock was dealt his first stint of adversity. He broke his hand during his sophomore year, which caused him to sit out the entire football season. Thermopolis, in turn, won just one game. As a result, he elected not to wrestle and instead turned his energy to weightlifting. Sitting out that football season took its toll, which he in turn took out on opponents the past two seasons.
Maddock became the Bobcats’ primary scoring threat as a junior even though he wasn’t their featured running back. By his senior season he was Thermopolis’ starting running back and once again averaged over 100 all-purpose yards per game. He also led the team in scoring again.
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Another all-state season finished with a playoff berth and Maddock’s final season with Thermopolis ended in the quarterfinals. He once again helped the Bobcats achieve while developing into a different player altogether.
“You’ve got to put in your time,” he said. “Everybody has it, just depends how you use it. It makes you wise.”
And he’s not about to look back on his time with the Bobcats with any regrets.
“Nothing wasted,” he said. “Every minute was spent doing something good.”
Maddock’s football career will end with a goal fulfilled, a fitting nod to an older brother who he grew up hoping to emulate on the field. He doesn’t have expectations for the game itself, so he’s just enjoyed the week up to this point.
“It’s an all-star football game,” he asked, “who doesn’t want to play in that? It’s a blast.”
And then it’s goodbye to football. While some of his teammates will be off to play in college, he’s going to move to Utah, where he’s already secured a job as an apprentice welder. Then he’s going to get married, have children and “teach them the same thing.”
His prospective kids will likely play football. They may even be told old stories of what their dad did and how he went out on top by playing in the prestigious Shrine Bowl. If so, he’ll create a few new goals for the next generation of the Maddock surname.