By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium
Sports has the ability to forge friendships. Jaelin Green and Josh Conerly, members of Rainier Beach High School’s Football team, are prime example of this theory. A lot of different experiences in life can bond friendships and through sports Green and Conerly’s friendship has flourished over the years.
Friends since meeting each other on the gridiron in the second grade, Conerly, a 6’5” 280lb offense and defense lineman, and Green, a 6’4” 180lbs receiver, are inseparable. They forged their friendship playing sports together and they have manifested into one of Rainier Beach’s most talented duos.
“I have known Jaelin since second or third grade,” says Conerly. “We grew up playing football and basketball together. Although until Rainier Beach we never went to school together, but sports brought us together, brought us closer so we have been friends for a while now.”
According to Green, the duo started playing football together for the Beacon Hill Cowboys and Rotary Basketball teams, and Green says that they had an instant connection that has lasted and spanned the course of their athletic careers.
“We met on the field and just clicked and have been playing sports together and became friends ever since,” says Green. “Although we didn’t go to school together until Rainier Beach, we remained friends throughout playing football and basketball together.”
Although the Vikings were on a mandatory two week break due to COVID protocols, the two seniors, who rely on each other for motivation and support, are still putting in the work necessary to capitalize on the football success Rainier Beach has experienced in recent years.
Rainier Beach head coach Cory Sampson has witnessed the growth and friendship over the years between the two, and the shared passion and goals they have set for themselves.
“They are long-time friends,” says Sampson. “[They’re] kind of like brothers… having played football and basketball together since they were like 6 and 7 years of age. They hang out all them time, best of friends.”
According to Sampson, both players possess aspirations to play college ball together and dreams of making it to the next level. The two recently returned from a recruiting trip to USC, which highlighted their desire to continue playing football together on the college level.
“Being friends with Josh, you know, he is a motivator,” says Green. “Both as a teammate and as a friend I can always rely on Josh. And his leadership on the field helps make us a better team and adds to our friendship, I can always count on him to motivate me.”
Rainier Beach’s football this season is filled with promise. Starting off the season with a win only to have a disappointing loss to Eastside Catholic, the Vikings are optimistic about their potential. The COVID pandemic has, as we know, been a thorn in the side of society and the Rainier Beach football program could not escape its wrath as the team was forced to quarantine for 14 days due to one of its players contracting the virus.
“We’re off to a good start,” says Conerly. “We have some work to do, but I believe in my team and I think we can go places. We started off with a win but had a disappointing loss against Eastside. Then one of our teammates was diagnosed with COVID and the whole team had to quarantine. But now we are back on the field ready to continue our season.”
Both young men think highly of each other and look forward to experiencing the rest of their senior year together. Because of their long history as friends their support for each other is evident both on and off the field.
“I mean Jaelin is a straight up Dude,” says Conerly. “Always chill, stays to himself, always calm, cool and collected. You know what I mean? He is my guy, I have known him for so many years he’s like my brother.”
According to recruiting insiders, both players have great potential in football. Standing 6’5” and 6’4”, respectively, their physical attributes alone make them highly attractive to college recruiters. Conerly is dominate on both sides of the line and Green is becoming a big play maker, with both of them having the ability to change the course of a game in an instant. But more importantly, both of them love the game and have fun in the process.
“As a teammate Jaelin is really fun to play with,” says Conerly. “He makes a lot of great plays, makes big plays that really can change the momentum of a game. He is a game-changer for sure.”
Green enjoys playing with Conerly because every offensive player knows the need and depends on their big men to have success and Conerly is the epitome of a quintessential big man.
“His a big guy,” says Green. “His talent shows on the field and [his] protective and motivated attitude has always been a positive thing in our friendship. He is protective on the field and in life. He is great to play with and hopefully we will have a great senior season together.”
Both players have dreams of furthering their sports careers after high school although neither one has yet to commit to any particular college program.
With the bond that binds Green and Conerly and the leadership that they bring to their team, Rainier Beach football is ready to get back on the field and work towards a successful end to their season.