Throughout his life, Samm Falk was told that he would one day take the Varsity football field as a Syosset Brave. Falk, who was seven years old when he first put on the pads, thought he was destined to be a Varsity football player at Syosset High School.
Like in football, things changed very quickly for Falk. After playing two seasons as captain of Syosset’s Junior Varsity team, Falk opted to retire from the game he loved so much to focus on his studies.
“I will always love football,” Falk said. “I just felt that it was time to move on and focus on my education because that is what is most important to me.”
As two more football seasons passed, Falk was really itching to get back into athletics at Syosset High School, just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. That opportunity happened late last year when Braves basketball head coach Bobby Kopp had a conversation with Samm. Samm remembers this conversation as if it were yesterday.
“Coach asked me one day if I was interested in trying out for the basketball team,” Falk said. “At the time I was really unsure because I really have not played basketball competitively since I was an eighth grader. I just thought really hard and decided that for my Senior year I wanted to play a Varsity sport and represent my school so I took Coach Kopp up on his offer.”
When Kopp found out Falk was going to try out Kopp was very excited to see what Falk could possibly bring to his squad.
“I was pretty excited,” a smiling Kopp said, thinking back to that conversation with Falk. “I have had him in my physical education class for three years already and we developed a strong relationship. I thought Samm could fit in with what we are going to try to do here.”
Falk spent all summer training in the weight room and on the basketball courts, working on all aspects of his game. After being selected by Kopp to be a member of the varsity team, Falk was excited to make difference on the squad.
“Whenever my number is called, I am going to give every single ounce of energy I have,” Falk said. “If the team needs me to come in and defend, I will do that. If the team needs me to come in and block shots, I will do that. I will do what ever it takes to try to help this team win.”
As a former linebacker, Falk has played defense at a high level his whole life. Falk is looking to bring a football mentality to the Syosset basketball team, a sense of physicality.
“I think if we bring that hard defensive mentality we can compete with anyone,” Falk said. “We need to bring it defensively every night because, in our conference, we face some of the best players and coaches on Long Island. Defense is what we will have to commit to every game if we want to win”
Kopp says Falk’s role on the team is going to be very significant toward helping the team try to return to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
“Samm’s role is going to be to come in and give our big guys a one or two minute break. He is here to rebound, be physical, make layups, and provide energy for the entire team to feed off of.”
Senior Captain Jake Canner says Falk brings a great attitude to the team.
“I was happy Samm decided to play basketball again,” Canner said. “Samm is such a great guy to have on a team. He brings a great personality to the team, and he is such a strong and physical player. I really believe that he can help us win games.”
Samm’s father, Craig Falk, said he was saddened by his son's decision to retire from football, but understood education was most important.
“I was saddened by Samm not pursuing football further at the Varsity level,” Craig said. “Samm did what was best for him. I was proud of his decision, as I am extremely proud of his efforts both with his school work and his work on the basketball court.”
Falk is arguably the loudest and most enthusiastic player on the team, as many of his classmates and close friends can often hear him yelling from anywhere in the high school. Kopp believes that Samm’s personality has been greatly beneficial to the teams chemistry.
“I think Samm just has a great heart,” Kopp said. “He has a great sense of humor. He is just very funny and I think the team really appreciates the fact that he kind of knows where he fits in on and off the court.”
Falk, who spent the better part of his years thinking about his future in football, is ready for his basketball career to begin. Syosset opens up the regular season against Valley Stream South on Monday afternoon at Wantagh High School.