Having the spring off had to feel weird for Falmouth senior Ethan Harper. The three-season athlete has had a team to be a part of throughout his days at FHS, until this spring. One of the top shot put throwers in southeastern Massachusetts, the tall senior also was one of the top linemen for the FHS football team the past few years.
Ethan is the son of Heather and Marty Harper, and has one sibling, 16-year old Jonah. His favorite subject in school has been computer science and he said that his most-prized possession is his pair of skis. During the summer he works as a Falmouth lifeguard. Ethan has earned the Biliteracy Attainment Award in Spanish and was a league all-star in track.
“The Hateful Eight” is Ethan’s favorite movie and “Silicon Valley” is his favorite TV show. The Misfits are his favorite band and his go-to meal is steak and mashed potatoes with a glass of OJ and brownies for dessert.
How did you get involved with track and field? How much do you enjoy it?
I started track during the winter of my sophomore year after deciding not to continue with basketball. It started as just something to do, but track quickly became something I looked forward to every day.
What went through your mind when you found out that your senior year had been canceled?
For the first month or so it still seemed like there was going to be some sort of season scraped together. Even when it was officially canceled, it was hard to wrap my head around, it didn’t seem real. It was definitely hard to come to terms with.
You worked hard to become one of the top shot put throwers in the state. What were the keys to your success, and what were your goals for the coming season?
A lot of my success can be attributed to the people around me. From coaches to teammates, I always had a strong support system through the best and worst of times.
You also ran in some races for FHS. What was that experience like?
My track career began as a hurdler. It was never something that I excelled at, but was definitely a lot of fun and not at all something I regret pursuing along with throwing.
On the football field you played on the line for Falmouth, both on offense and defense. Did you prefer one over the other? Do you have any good stories from inside the trenches?
Both sides of the line had their pros and cons, it’s almost hard to choose one over the other. On offense you were given a very specific set of instructions depending on the play, it was really the place to show your strength and toughness. Though, on the other hand, defense was a bit more free form. You could show a little more finesse and creativity while still getting the job done. Some of my favorite memories from playing on the line were looking up and watching your QB or running back take the ball 50 yards to the house and knowing it was your block that made it happen.
If you could replay one game that you have in, which one would it be? Why?
If I had to choose one, it would have to be against DY this last season. Having had a pretty rough season up until that point, I started finding a lot more enjoyment just playing the game, not worrying about wins or losses. It was a grim wet night, not at all optimal weather for football, and on a grass field, it’s a surprise the game even happened. I just remember running around, diving for tackles and sliding every which way in the mud like I was a little kid. After the game, looking at a muddy wet jersey gave me a feeling of accomplishment, like a token of how hard I had worked. Even though we fell short in beating DY that night, it was the most fun I have ever had on a football field.
What do you consider the highlight of your athletic career so far?
I would say that my entire senior season of winter track was the highlight. I really came into my own and began to succeed at just about everything I competed in. The hard work from the past two years had paid off. I was able to compete at a higher level in statewide meets and show everyone what I was made of. I don’t think there’s one specific moment that trumps all others.
Who is the best teammate that you’ve ever played with?What makes that person stand out?
I have had many incredible teammates, both great friends and amazing athletes. During my track and field career, two of those people were Colby Andrade and Abby Chorches. Both are incredibly impressive athletes in there own regards, they were also great friends that made my high school athletic experience just that much more enjoyable.
Do you have any sports-related superstitions? If so, what are they?
I’ve never been a superstitious person about anything. I guess if anything, I always would use music as a way to prepare me for sporting events. Be it a track meet or football game, I liked to seclude myself and listen to music while I got ready to compete. It always put me in a state of preparedness.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from playing sports?
Sports has really taught me how to work with other people no matter how difficult they may be. Even in a generally solo sport like track, it’s very important that the team works as a fluid unit to have success.
Who has been your inspiration?
Having played many sports throughout my life, I found inspiration often in athletes. For track, that person was a German thrower named David Storl. I was drawn to him because of his style of throw. He threw with a glide, which is an outdated technique taught to first-time throwers. He did not conform to the standard of the professional field and was still able to amass an impressive career, including an Olympic silver medal.
Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
There are so many people I would like to thank. From friends to family to coaches, anyone who has ever taught me anything, supported me in any way big or small. I owe it to all of them, countless people who have shaped me into a person I can be proud of today.
When quarantine life is over, what is the thing you are most looking forward to doing?
Depending on how soon an end to all of this comes, I would really like to be able to enjoy my summer working days on the beach and spending time with friends and family not having to worry about having a mask on all the time or staying awkwardly distanced from everyone. Even if it may not be realistic, I look forward to the day when we can return to life as it once was.
What’s the biggest difference between you as a senior and as a freshman? If you could go back, what advice would you give to your freshman self?
I think the biggest thing high school has taught me is to do what makes me happy. I’ve learned a lot about myself since freshman year, and I would tell myself not to worry so much about what other people think about you. Once I learned that, life became a lot more enjoyable.
What is something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
There’s not much I keep a secret, I’m a pretty open book. I guess one thing that I don’t advertise as much is that alongside sports I have a passion for computers and programming, something I hope to pursue in the future.
If you could switch places with one person for a week, who would it be and what would you want to do?
I think I would like it to be a completely random person anywhere on earth. I’d like to see if I was able to adapt and survive to any position I was put in.
Describe your idea of the perfect day.
I don’t know if i could pick a series of specific events that would make a “perfect” day. I’m sure it would include skateboarding or skiing (depending on the season) but as long as I’m with friends and people that make me happy, I’ll be happy doing just about whatever.
What are your post-high school plans?
Depending on the state our country is in, I plan on attending UMass Amherst in the fall, continuing my academic career.
Where will you be in 10 years, and what will you be doing?
The dream is to be working in the ever-growing technology field. I’m not sure where exactly I will find my role, but as technology rapidly advances, I hope to be a part of the construction of the future.