He had his spot. The end zone was where he would stand and he’d watch him play from that spot. Home or away it didn’t matter. Rain or snow it didn’t matter. Some might think he liked to watch a play develop. Or maybe he was getting away from the nonsense in the stands. Either way it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that he got a chance to see his son play.
Every young athlete follows footsteps. Sometimes it’s those of a coach, a professional athlete or a local sports star whose time has passed. But for Nick Bolio he found those steps at home. It was his dad and he wanted nothing more than to be him. Just like him.
From the time Nick learned to throw a baseball, he was there. The first time he learned to dribble, his dad was there. And when he gripped a football in his small hands, his dad showed him how.
Nick started playing Pop Warner football when he was seven and as a running back he helped his 2003 team finish as National Runner-Up, the best finish ever of a team from Massachusetts. In 2008 Nick’s Shepard Hill High School team won its first and only state Division 2 Super Bowl and he followed it up with a standout football career at Assumption College.
A three-sport star and a great all-around athlete, Nick was also the centerfielder on Shepard Hill’s varsity baseball team and starting guard on its basketball team. He was just like him.
His dad coached Nick until high school and he was at every practice and at every game. For all the records and MVP’s, for all the awards and all the wins, his dad was there. But the support and the car rides didn’t end with talk about a practice or a game, it went beyond that. It went to a place that every true athlete knows they must go and a place where a good athlete can become a great athlete. It was about the sacrifice needed, about his will and determination and the pride that hard work always brings.
Today, Nick has different goals. His focus is on helping others reach theirs, whether it’s running a marathon, swimming competitively or power lifting he trains young athletes the way his dad trained him. As a fitness trainer he cherishes the benefits of strength and conditioning, and treasures the pride his athletes feel. Nick’s found his spot, just like him.
Nick Bolio walked off the football field for the last time in November of 2013. His dad’s spot is gone now and those end zone moments are too but remembering his dad’s excitement and feeling his pride will stay with him forever. Tom Bolio was a great athlete too and he's an even better dad. And most importantly he raised a great son, and yes, he's just like him.