My PrepZone is an opportunity for student-athletes on the Treasure Coast to tell their own stories by either writing or dictating them. Author James Monds III is a junior cornerback at Fort Pierce Westwood. Monds was a First-Team All-Area selection in both football and soccer at Port St. Lucie in 2019-20. In his debut at Westwood on Thursday, Monds returned a punt for a touchdown in the Panthers season opener against rival Fort Pierce Central. Monds, whose father and grandfather also played for Westwood, wrote the following first-person story for TCPalm.
Family legacy is a big deal for me and my family.
So, just being able to put on a Westwood jersey, knowing that all my family members before me wore it, was huge for me. I’ve always wanted to be a part of it because it was just kind of like a legacy that I wanted to live up to.
I remember stories my father and grandfather told me about what they did in their Showdowns against Fort Pierce Central. It made me want to wear that maroon and gray jersey my father and my grandfather wore.
Showdown 41: Fort Pierce Westwood dominates rivals from Central
My dad played defensive back at Westwood. He was just an all-around dog. But we have some differences. He was more of a knockout hitter. I’m more of a finesse guy who takes the ball back for six.
After graduating from Westwood, he attended the University of Toledo and then Bethune-Cookman.
As for my grandfather, he was a linebacker who was a pure terror to opposing offenses. He went on to play at Tennessee-Martin, then signed as a free agent with the New York Giants.
In the game, I really didn’t think about anything else just because I was so focused on the game. But in the back of my mind I was just hearing their stories of their Showdowns and I knew I had to make one of my own to tell my future kids.
It means a lot to score that touchdown because when we have a family reunion, and everyone talks about the Showdown memories, I have my own to dwell on.
It means a lot to follow in my dad and grandfathers’ footsteps because I learn from them — their mistakes and their great knowledge of football and life.
It’s really impacted me off and on the field and has made me a better person and player.
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