Ex-NFL player Jon Ritchie says ‘journey in life’ picked up when he arrived at Cumberland Valley
Jon Ritchie spent seven seasons in the NFL, but growing up, he was enamored with Cumberland Valley football.
Mark Pynes | email@example.com
Jon Ritchie wanted to be a Cumberland Valley football player for Halloween almost every year growing up.
He didn’t have shoulder pads available, the former NFL fullback explained, so he usually wound up picking some other costume. But the desire was there, Ritchie said.
Before Ritchie spent seven seasons with the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles, he was a Central Pennsylvania kid enamored with Cumberland Valley sports. His mom was an English teacher at the school and brought her son along to wrestling matches, basketball games or Friday night football contests.
Those experiences bred Ritchie’s passion for sports. And that’s part of what he said he’ll discuss as the MC of the PennLive High School Sports Awards on Tuesday night.
“I remember being a kindergartener and moving into the house my parents live in now, and I was blown away by the fact that next door was David Northrop, who played on the varsity football team at Cumberland Valley,” said Ritchie, who co-hosts a midday radio show on WIP in Philadelphia. “I just wanted to grow up to be a CV football player one day. I knew that was my favorite sport.”‘
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But childhood aspirations alone didn’t send Ritchie on his path to the NFL. He said once he arrived at Cumberland Valley and convince his parents he should suit up for the Eagles, he grew immersed in his responsibilities as a student and star football player.
His experiences there sent him to Michigan, Stanford and the NFL, but Ritchie said they first molded him into confident and capable man.
“My journey in life started with balance — getting the best grades I possibly could and achieving what I perceived to be the highest level hard work would allow on the football field,” he said.
Looking back, Ritchie doesn’t know whether things would have been different if he grew up in a bigger city than Mechanicsburg or a different state than Pennsylvania. He does believe football would have been a part of his life anywhere, though, thanks to 6-foot-2, 250-pound frame and eye-popping athleticism.
And Ritchie is sure of one other thing: The way it all worked out, Cumberland Valley football left a massive imprint on his life.
“My lexicon, my world was dominated by Cumberland Valley sports from the time I was a preschooler,” he said.
PENNLIVE HIGH SCHOOL AWARDS
When: Tuesday, May 23, 5 p.m.
Where: Radisson Hotel Harrisburg
Tickets: $45 after. They can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pennlive-high-school-sports-awards-tickets-33220112250 or at the door between 4 and 4:45 p.m. May 23.
For more information on the event, please contact Mary Clayton, Marketing Events Planner, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-255-8436.