RJ Cook is a senior at Oswego High School, football is his passion, and it’s drawn him enough to accept a coaching position at OHS. Like any stereotypical high school athlete, his Instagram page is filled with photos of him in action under the lights.
When we first walk up to Cook, he is on his phone. As we approach him, he looks up and waves at us with two fingers, which we first misinterpret as a peace sign.
After Kira awkwardly shoots him a thumbs-up followed by an uncomfortable “cool,” we make our way to the table. Kira offers for all of us to sit, only to be met with the realization that there was only one chair. Cook doesn’t seem bothered by the fact—he actually seems like he wanted to stand.
One unusual thing about Cook is that he has made the jump from athlete to coach in a matter of four years.
Since Cook was offered a coaching position at his soon-to-be alma mater, we had to know what made him agree to come back.
“So, both my mom and my dad went here, as well as my grandpa, and pretty much all of my family members. They all live around here,” Cook says. “Just like, the history behind it and kind of getting to pick up where I left off.”
Although Cook has plans to come back to OHS, he has a few post-high school plans before his return.
“I’m going to Waubonsee to get my Gen Eds out of the way,” Cook says. “I’ll be coaching and living at home, and afterwards, I plan on either going to Aurora or , and if I go to Aurora, I will still be coaching here, and if I go to U of I, I will try to get a coaching position there.”
Cook’s passion for football comes from his team’s and coaches’ support, which has been prominent throughout his high school career.
“I’ve made a lot of friends here,” Cook says.
Luckily for Cook, he may not have to leave these friends behind, as he may have the chance to lead them as a coach.
“A couple of my teammates that were juniors when I was a senior were still going to be on the team, and I think it’s cool that I’m going to be able to coach them, like my friends,” Cook says.
Besides his teammates, he also may have the opportunity to work with the coaches who helped him become the player he is today.
“Being able to come back and work with them I think will be pretty cool,” Cook says.
As the interview comes to and end as quick as his senior year, he takes time to reflect on his four years of his football career.
“Well, it flies by. As a freshman I thought I was going to be here forever, but, I mean, technically, yeah, [I’ll] still [be] a coach here. It flies by fast. Take every minute of it in,” Cook says.
Hello! My name is Kira Farooqui, and this is my second year working with 42Fifty. I couldn’t be more excited! I’m currently a senior at OHS who loves anything and everything cats, writing, and history. In my free time, I write my own novels that I hope to publish professionally one day. I look forward to many more years in journalism and writing my heart out!