CASTLETON — Young boys grow up dreaming of playing in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.
Lyndon Institute’s Victor Richardy?
Heck, he did not even know what the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl was when he first tugged on the maroon and white Lyndon uniform for his senior season in 2021.
Richardy came to Lyndon from Denmark for his senior season as an exchange student. One reason he chose Lyndon was that his family wanted him in a dormitory setting as opposed to staying with a host family.
Richardy had some limited exposure to football. He began playing it at 13 on a U-14 team in Denmark.
But America would come in quite a different package when it came to academics and football.
But being selected for the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl to play for Vermont against New Hampshire in the annual summer all-star high school football game? That is pure storybook.
Not surprisingly, being in a strange land was an adjustment. Football aided in his acclimation.
“Football helped a lot,” Richardy said. “There was a lot of good team spirit. I made a lot of friends.”
The experience has been so enriching that Richardy wants to bring the game back to Denmark, helping the youth of his homeland to get as much out of the sport as he did.
“I want to get a lot of kids into it,” Richardy said.
Another adjustment was the length of the school day.
“The school days here are longer,” Richardy said.
And the football was much more rigorous.
“Definitely football is more intense here. The whole community is in on it,” Richardy said. “Here, it is a very big thing.”
Then he got to experience the St. Johnsbury-Lyndon game. It one of the longest-standing high school football rivalries in the country. The Vikings and St. Johnsbury first met on the gridiron in 1894 and when Richardy played in the game it was the 116th edition of the Northeast Kingdom rivalry contest.
“That was awesome. I had never played in front of that many people,” Richardy said.
Shrine camp this week at Castleton University is giving Richardy a new taste of football.
“Three practices a day is definitely tough,” said Richardy who will be on the defensive line on Saturday.
He will apply the lessons he has learned from LI coach Dan Nolan and his staff along with the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl staff to his own experience in coaching back in Denmark.
“My coaching will be tough but fair,” Richardy said as he looks forward to coaching a U-16 team in Denmark.
Richardy will run to the middle of the field on Saturday as he is introduced to a crowd of thousands at Castleton University’s Dave Wolk Stadium.
It is more than he ever expected when he came to America.