Varsity News: A Conversation With ‘Internet Sensation’ Michael Dola

October 15, 2010

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This week at Varsity News, we talk to Michael Dola. He’s the best kicker in the D.C. area and the reluctant co-star of football blooper that has gone viral.

Oct 15, 2010 – My name is Jordan Ruby and I’ve been living in the DMV for five years and covering high school sports in the area for four. Varsity News is a weekly feature that reviews all the best local action in a single place, bullet pointed for easy digestion.

Michael Dola is the placekicker for Yorktown High School in Arlington, and he’s known for his touchbacks. He’s got a strong leg and usually a forces opponent to start their drives at the 20-yard line. He’s a field position generator.

A few weeks ago in a game against Madison Dola hit one just right, “Right when the ball came off my foot I knew I struck it well,” he told me. “I knew that thing was just gonna fly.”

And he was right. The kickoff traveled almost all the way out the back of the end zone. And it would have just gone down as one of his longer kickoffs if it weren’t for what happened to the returner after he caught it.

You may have seen this video before. It’s been on ESPN and has over 700,000 hits on Youtube.

I attended a recent Yorktown practice to talk to Michael about being an Internet sensation for all the wrong reasons. All I had to say was, “Hey, wer -” before Dola knew what I wanted to talk to him about.

He started to tell the story for what must have been the thousandth time in the past few weeks. You have to admit for a story about a touchback in a high school football game, it certainly has a hell of a twist. “It caught me off guard,” Dola said about seeing Andy McGuire of Madison run into the uprights when he received the kick.

But at the time Dola simply wrote it off, “I heard a big ohhh from the crowd, one of those types of things,” he said. “But that’s really all I thought of it. I just turned around, grabbed my tee and jogged off the field.”

It was clear that Dola wasn’t as big a fan of the video as I had anticipated, “It was funny, but I didn’t think it was that funny.” I think that may be due to Dola wanting be known for his leg, not his partial involvement in a blooper, and I can understand that. “Obviously I got a lot of publicity from that,” he said, “but it’s not exactly what I envisioned.”

And he wants make sure that McGuire wasn’t going to be remembered for one out-of-context play either. “I think a lot of kids forget this but the kid who ran into the post was a tremendous athlete that just got unlucky,” he said. “He was a great sport about it. He got up, brushed off his shoulder and that was it.”

But on the other hand the video has made Dola an absolute ROCKSTAR on campus. He told me that he was in a hurry last Thursday and his classmates allowed to him to cut in line to buy tickets for the homecoming dance a few days after the play aired …

Ok, so maybe not a rockstar, but he probably saved himself a good five minutes there, which is something. Membership certainly has its perks, kind of.

If Michael Dola had his way he would be known for the kickoff that forced the returner to the back of the end zone rather than what happened after he kicked it. But he also knows it is the event he is most known for and he has to live with that. Hopefully he is able to get the most out of it.

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Michael Dola

Class of 2011
Yorktown High School
Arlington, Virginia

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