Freshman Ben Taylor devotes his all to soccer and marching band


During the week, freshman Ben Taylor will not see his brothers for 120 hours straight.

Each school day, Ben wakes up early in the morning to make it to zero hour drumline practice, then spends all day at school, heads to JV soccer practice from 3pm-5pm, and caps his day off with band practice from 6pm-9pm.

“During the week, I will not see my brothers,” Ben said. “They will wake up after I leave, and they’ll go to bed before I get home. It’s crazy, but it’s definitely worth it. I can’t imagine giving up band or soccer, so it’s definitely worth it [in exchange] for free time.”

For over a decade now, Ben has devoted his time to the sport of soccer. From signing up for classes at age three, to joining a rec league at age nine, to joining club soccer with PASS FC a couple years ago, Ben has always made soccer a priority. This year, however, his passion and skill proliferated with the help of the FHC soccer program.

“It’s a really good soccer program–one of the better ones in Grand Rapids,” Ben said. “There’s a large expectation for our school to be good, which is nice because, in the end, we always rise to that expectation. The pressure helps us be better.”

As Ben’s JV soccer team played their last home game on Thursday night, he’s noticed the steady improvement from his team, compared to their first game almost two months ago. As possession and passing increased, the team’s individual skills and widespread teamwork have been enhanced as well. On the midfield, Ben stands at the core of the team, passing, communicating, and making sure everyone is on the same page.

Additionally, Ben was selected as one of the team’s three captains, a huge accomplishment for an incoming freshman. Evidently, his coach noticed the spark of leadership discernible within Ben, and as a result, his ability to guide and direct have flourished. Other elements that have also increased are his understanding and love for the game of soccer.

“It’s fun, and it never stops,” Ben said. “It’s not like baseball or football where you’re always stopping and there are a ton of breaks. It’s ever-changing, and it’s not predictable. The same thing will never happen twice. It’s all on the fly.”

To contrast with the spontaneity of soccer, Ben also participates in the highly organized FHC marching band. Since sixth grade, he’s specialized in the pit section, marimbas, and cymbals. Love for percussion runs through the family as Ben’s father also participated in the marching band in high school and college. Ben’s lifetime interest in the band peaked this year when he began marching.

“[In percussion], you’re not the average,” Ben said. “You do everything different from the [band]. It’s different, and it’s more fun, especially with fifth quarter and all the crazy stuff we do, like the different cadences, upside tenors, and the cymbal slide. It’s just a lot more fun than blowing into an instrument.”

Along with the physical aspect of playing his instruments, Ben indulges in the social component of marching band as well. The camaraderie between the band and the drumline specifically has continued to draw him into the program.

“Drumline is probably the most welcoming place so far,” Ben said. “All the seniors and juniors are super nice, and it’s like you can’t even tell the age difference or anything. We’re always going crazy and getting hyped up; it’s awesome. It’s just like a huge group of friends, and everyone is super welcoming to the freshmen, which is nice.”

“Music is just fun to do and a good pastime,” Ben continued, of his interest in music. “There are a lot of studies that show music being really good for your brain because it involves a ton of different parts, but it’s also fun at the same time. You put on a show for other people, and it’s always nice to make other people feel a certain way.”

As Ben continues to dive into the band and soccer programs at FHC over the next three years, he’ll continue to lead and follow the lead of his peers. Friends and teammates of Ben’s, such as sophomore JV soccer captain Matthew Mahoney and senior drummer Dillon Lee, have made his transition into high school much easier and have Ben excited about what’s to come next.

“Coming into a huge school like this, it’s a little freaky at first, just because there are so many older kids,” Ben said of his admiration for his role models. “But having older kids that are nice and are role models have definitely helped me and showed me, ‘Oh, I should’ve been doing this.’ They inspire me to be really good at what I’m doing and practice but also to have a really good time and enjoy what you do.”