Court Boice comes from a family of quarterbacks, and the plan was always to keep the tradition alive.
The son of NFA Director of Operations/Senior Coach JC Boice, a former QB himself, Court Boice’s considerable skills at the key position were on display early.
A quarterback since he was in the fourth grade, Court won the Duel, NFA’s showcase event, the summer before his freshman year at Belmont High School in Victoria, British, Columbia. Boice proceeded to win the starting job as the varsity quarterback during his frosh season with the Bulldogs and went on to pass for nearly 1,000 yards.
“Quarterback was always the position I played, and it was always my dream to follow in the footsteps of my dad and uncles and play quarterback through high school and in college,” Boice said.
As a sophomore at Belmont, Boice was running the football in the third game of the season when he was hit on the side of his left shoulder at an awkward angle.
“My shoulder was dislocated, but there was no surgery,” Boice recalled. “I just hit the rehab really hard, got into the weight room and worked back to a point where I could throw again for the next season.”
Boice worked hard to make it back, and he returned to the field as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback as a junior. The dream of playing QB was still alive and well.
Fate had other plans. In the season opener, a road game at Salem, Oregon, Belmont scored early in the fourth quarter to take a commanding lead, and the Bulldogs tried putting the outcome well out of reach with a 2-point conversion.
“All I really remember was their linebacker came through free and got his helmet right underneath my shoulder as I was throwing,” Boice said.
And just like that, the dream seemed to die. Boice sustained major damage to his left shoulder on the hit, and this time surgery was the only option.
“It was pretty nasty,” Boice said. “I tore my rotator cuff and damaged the labrum. It was the first game, so I basically missed my junior season.”
Understandably, Boice had a hard time dealing with a second straight shoulder injury.
“Initially, I was really bummed,” he said. “I was down. I didn’t understand what was going on, like why was this happening to me? I had been relatively successful for a long time of my life and I just never thought it could happen to me, and it did. I was scared because of my dream – my plan was to play college football – and slowly I saw that dream fading away. I stayed in that mental state for a little while, I stayed at home for a time and didn’t go to school. I was pretty bummed out, but I kind of started going back to the practices. I just started to coach the second-string quarterback.”
As for actually playing again, Boice wasn’t sure what to expect.
“At first, I was in a lot of shock, and when I did see my surgeon he said it was going to take a lot of time to recover,” Boice said. “He said I needed to take care of it. I was hoping I could just get right back in there and try to play. The surgeon told me to be careful, no weights, really no anything. For a long time after surgery it was a lot of nothing. I couldn’t do anything and that really hurt. That’s the first time in my life I’ve ever not been doing something. I just had to sit there and that was a huge shot to my mental state.”
The road back
In time, Boice picked himself up and made the best of his situation.
“I just decided to start focusing on where I could find my identity in other ways,” he said. “I got involved with our team and worked with the quarterbacks off to the side. I had coached at a few NFA camps so I worked them through the same stuff I worked at in the NFA camps. I had fun and tried to do the best I could to prepare them week by week, watching film with them and stuff like that. That was great because it just got my mind off of … rather than dwelling on my hurt and my pain … I was able to help focus my attention to building something greater for the program.”
In the spring of his junior year, Boice was at an NFA/WRA camp in Seattle, and a routine drill wound up opening a brand new door.
“As time went on, I was able to start working out again,” Boice said. “I went to Seattle where there was a OSD (Off-Season Development) camp and I was just kind of coaching and helping out. I was invited to jump in with the receivers. I figured I’m going to have to make a position change anyways, why not receiver? So I got on board, my teammates got on board behind me, and so did my coaches, I had a lot of fun.”
Running through drills as a receiver with WRA coaches Kenny Jackson (https://twitter.com/CoachJack82) and Artie Allen (https://twitter.com/coachallen5) had lasting implications for Boice. Not only did he make it all the way back and play wide receiver this past season as a senior at Belmont, Boice thrived at the new position.
The 6-foot-2 ½, 185-pounder led all British Columbia high school wide receivers with over 60 receptions, nearly 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also set a B.C. record with 16 catches in one game and was voted All-Conference and a All-BC Provincial All-Star.
And while he is playing a different position, Boice’s dream is still alive. He has multiple football scholarship offers from colleges in Canada.
“I really had a lot of fun playing receiver,” Boice said. “I had a successful year and I’ve been in contact with some CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) schools up here. That’s great because that dream of playing football at the next level felt like it was dying. I’ve been blessed.”
While he deserves immense praise for coming back from two injuries to the same shoulder, transitioning to a new position and performing at such a high level, Boice credited NFA for helping him get back in the flow.
“The NFA leadership message, I’ve been to so many different camps and I’ve heard Darin (Slack’s) leadership message probably 100 times,” Boice said. “I’ve heard Dub (Maddox’s) leadership message quite a few times. I’ve heard all these different leadership messages and the first couple times you hear it you take it to heart and stuff, but the more you hear it the more you kind of forget about it. As I was at home after the surgery, and I was thinking, I kept going back to those leadership messages they were talking about, like about that hard time when life’s going to hit you and knock you down and you’re not going to be able to get back up.
“You’ve go to hang on to those buoys, you’ve got to find your friends, your family and loved ones that are going to support you,” Boice continued. “You’ve got to hold on to those buoys. Those leadership messages just really stuck in my mind and helped me get through it. I was also in contact with a lot of the coaches. Darin reached out to me quite a few times, just to give me words of encouragement, words of support. Reid Roe, he was constantly hitting me up, just checking in with me to make sure everything was OK. It was nice to get that encouragement and know that I was loved and didn’t have to do it on my own.”