It's been quite a journey for Harvard-bound North Peters
Picture it: Fifteen-year-old high school kid. Football player. A testament to testosterone.
Not the conventional candidate to volunteer the following:
“Mom … dad … I want to go to boarding school.”
He’s a different kid, that North Peters.
And now, after he finishes his senior year at Choate, he’ll be attending Harvard and playing football there.
This is the story of North, a Mystic kid, who always knew what he wanted, a personification of the timeless line from “The Alchemist,” which goes, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
You’ll discover that Peters was meant for Choate and Choate was meant for Peters, even if he ended there by happenstance. That whole universe conspiring thing again.
Peters, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end, played youth football in Groton. He went to Fitch for his freshman year. But he felt the tug of something bigger.
“I knew I always wanted to go to boarding school,” he was saying last week, inhaling two sandwiches at Muddy Waters in New London. “It seemed a higher level of football, higher level of academics.”
Not exactly the words his dad, Troy, thought he’d hear.
Primer on Troy Peters: Helps run the Renegade Fitness Centers in the region. Big fella. Could bench press a delivery van.
“I’m a public school kid,” Troy Peters said. “When I was a kid, my grandfather worked at Deerfield Academy and my father tried to get me to go there. They wore blazers and everything. I’m like, ‘I won’t last two days in that place.’ So I always had my own opinion about boarding schools. Plus, I didn’t want to lose North. He was 15. But my father told me, ‘It’s not about you. Put away the selfishness.’”
North’s mother, Angie, who runs Bravado Barbershop in New London, was all for the idea, sensing her son’s passion. And so they scheduled a day to visit Hotchkiss, a boarding school in the state’s northwest corner.
Enter the universe.
It had other plans.
“We came across Choate by accident,” Troy Peters said.
North got Hotchkiss and Choate confused. So on the day of his Hotchkiss visit, he ended up at Choate with his grandmother. They went to the wrong school.
“My grandma said, ‘when’s the open house?’” North Peters said. “The guy who is my coach now (LJ Spinnato) said ‘there’s no open house today.’ My grandma said, ‘my grandson is a football player.’ It all worked out.”
Troy Peters: “I called my mother and said, ‘where are you?’ She says, ‘Choate.’ I said, ‘What are you doing there?’ She says, ‘talking to the football coach.’ Turned out that North saw a coach he knew from a camp he’d done well in. (Spinnato) noticed. It all fell into place.”
Ah, but we are powerless against fate, aren’t we?
North Peters had no issues adjusting to curfew at 9:30 p.m. on weekdays, sign-ins and check-outs. Sacrifices? Sure.
“It might seem boring thinking about boarding school,” North Peters said. “Not that bad at all. Still a good social life.”
No blazers, like in his dad’s day, either. Just a football team that hasn’t lost in four years. And a career that spawned offers from Syracuse, UMass and Army, among others. But when Harvard calls …
“I wanted to go to play big time football,” North Peters said. “When I visited Harvard, they told me anyone can go D-1, but not everyone can get a Harvard degree. I knew that’s where I wanted to go. If you want to go to the league (the NFL), you can still do it. But you’re not sacrificing anything by going there. If I went to Syracuse, I’d have the football, but not the academics.”
Quite the story. North Peters ended up at the wrong place that was the right one all along. Troy and Angie done good with their not so little boy.
“North was always focused. Not like me who is all over the place,” Troy Peters said. “Not too many kids can say they went to Harvard.”
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro