'Musical Mitch' Conrad is a pretty good blocker, too, for Valley/Old Lyme
East Lyme — Mitch Conrad is a man of many passions, among them smashing defenders as a pulling guard and portraying Horton the elephant.
Horton, as in “Horton Hears a Who!” by Dr. Seuss.
“I love my choir teacher, Mrs. (Laura) Traver, and she had said, ‘Why don’t you try out for the musical (Seussical)?” said Conrad, a senior co-captain for the Valley Regional/Old Lyme football team. “I said, ‘Alright. I’ll go for it.’ I tried out for the lead role, Horton the elephant. I got that role.
“I know people are going to make fun of it, but it was amazing. Trust me. I loved it. I could care less what other people have to say about it. They call me, ‘Musical Mitch.’”
Conrad is more well-rounded and active than most teenagers ... or adults for that matter. Monday night, he’ll be playing at guard and defensive end when the top-seeded Warriors play host to fifth-seeded St. Joseph in the CIAC Class M quarterfinals (6:30 p.m.)
“He’s just a great kid,” Valley/Old Lyme coach Tim King said. “He’s the ultimate captain.”
Conrad's college resume may have required a table of contents. He’s a two-time captain of the football team, in his fourth year as a class president, an honor student, a Boy Scout (he’s working to become an Eagle Scout), in both the madrigals and men’s choirs and the Women In Science Club (“I got asked if I wanted to be in it and I said, ‘Sure.’ … I figured there should be some diversity.”) and a member of Valley’s track and field team.
“That’s about it,” Conrad said, not trying to be funny.
“I’m constantly planning fundraisers and school events,” Conrad said. “I love to be involved in school spirit and make sure everyone is having fun. I love my classes. … I’ve had a fun time at Valley. I like to say I’m friends with everybody. I love getting involved in things. I really do.
“I like to help people. There are a lot of people that need help and I like to be the guy that’s there for everybody; that’s really translated onto the football field, being a captain and everything.”
Conrad’s altruism extends to the football field. He wanted to be a running back when he was younger, but ended up being a lineman when he got to Valley/Old Lyme.
“Matty (Sapere, Valley/Old Lyme’s quarterback), I got to know him my freshman year and we started to become friends. And then I started to think, ‘You know, I kind of get a kick out of being his guy to protect him. … I’m like his bodyguard.
“I get to hit people. I don’t really have to run as much. It all started to make sense (to be a lineman).”
Conrad began seeing varsity time as a sophomore and played guard in the Warriors’ CIAC Class S-Large championship win when they went into their ‘Beast’ package, which involved moving guard Tajhay Marshall to fullback.
“On trap, he’ll knock the hell out of you,” King said of Conrad. “He’ll get his head in the hole and knock the snot out of you. He was also our center last year when our starter got hurt.”
Somehow, some way, Conrad has been able to play football and still fit in all of his other interests.
“My average day on a Tuesday night would be football until around 5,” Conrad said. “Rehearsals start at 5, so I’d show up automatically late to that. And then I go home and I have Boy Scouts at 8 o’clock. Boy Scouts go from 8-9 p.m.
“It’s a packed night.”