Principal Jaffe joins football team for practice

TPHS Principal David Jaffe participated in football practice with both the varsity and JV football teams on Oct. 1, after losing a pie-eating contest, and a bet, during the KUSI-televised pep rally on Sept. 6.
Jaffe lost the contest to Parker Lanning (12), a member of the varsity football team.
“If [Lanning] won, I had to be a football player for the day, and if I won, he had to be principal for the day,” Jaffe said. “Ultimately, I won, but I actually cheated, so then I ended up having to play.”
Jaffe showed up to practice in a football uniform and shoulder pads and spent the first few minutes warming up, tossing footballs back and forth with players.
“I was incredibly nervous,” Jaffe said. “I played football in high school, but now I’m old and these guys are in great shape.”
Jaffe’s participation in football practice proved to be popular with the football players. When called to lead stretches, he was was met with cheers.
“He’s a very interactive principal,” Francisco Esquer (11) said. “It was a great experience having [our] principal play football with us.”
After stretches and warmup drills, the team practiced some plays. The main play of the practice was the fly route, a play where the receiver runs out about 10 yards for a pass, then runs the ball to the end zone. The first three passes to Jaffe slipped through his hands, but he recovered quickly and caught the next pass.
“He had mad skills,” varsity head coach Scott Ashby said. “He was out there breaking ankles and having a great time.”
Jaffe’s participation was a success with the football team, but he does not want to limit his participation to only one sport.
“Next, I’ll see if I can run with the cross-country team,” Jaffe said. “[But] I already told the volleyball girls that there is no way I’ll stand in front of one of those balls they hit because it would hurt.”
Varsity quarterback Pete Mitchell (12) said Jaffe seemed excited about playing with the team and that he was “in tune” with the players.
“I think [the football players] responded to [my participation] pretty well,” Jaffe said. “I think they like it that I’m at least willing to embarrass myself and get out there with them. I think they enjoy knowing me in a different light.”
Jaffe was waved off the field at the end of the first half of practice with a chorus of applause from the players.
“This will be an experience [the players] will never forget,” Ashby said.
Jaffe will participate in other sports practices if the opporunity arises, but for now, he is returning to his duties as principal.