Humans of Harker: Touchdowns and life lessons

Anthony Meissner builds life skills outside the classroom


Heidi Zhang

“Not anything is given to you. You know, you got to take it and you have to earn it. Hard work pays off.”

The lights shine bright, focusing on the figures centered on the field. Anthony Meissner (12) tightly grips the brown football in his hands, attentively watching for who to throw it to. Seeing an open pass, he brings his arm up, releasing the ball into a perfect spiral in the air before the ball falls firmly into his teammate’s hands. Cheers from the crowd permeate the dark silence of the night, leaving the senior quarterback with a wide smile.

From a young age, football was a big part of Anthony’s life with both his father and older brother sharing a passion in the sport. Following going to several games to watch the UC Berkeley team, Anthony became interested in playing at the young age of 5.

“I had to wait until I was nine to start playing and after that I just never stopped. I kept going up and up and really trying to better my skills,” Anthony said. “As soon as I got the opportunity to come here to play ball, it was something that I wanted to pursue because not only does it have an exceptional athletic program but it has a very good academic program.”

While the athletic aspects of the sport that come from training interest the senior, the opportunity to better his leadership skills especially stood out to him. Close friend Jarrett Anderson (12) recognizes Anthony’s desire to demonstrate his passion for football and guide others.

What is most notable about Anthony is that he’s super passionate and dedicated towards football,” Jarrett said. “Especially on the field, it is clear that Anthony is a strong leader, has a competitive spirit, and is extremely hardworking.”

Another one of his close friends Olivia Esparza (12) also sees the hard work and the time that Anthony puts into the sport.

I think his drive to do stuff [is his best quality],” Olivia said. “He’s pretty determined like for football he’s always practicing, going to practice, always doing outside stuff. When he was trying out for college, he was always adamant about it and determined.”

Anthony’s outgoing and caring personality is not only found on the football field, but also out in the outdoors serving others as a Boy Scout where he applies the skills that he learned while working with his team.

“I love the outdoors – hiking, backpacking, sailing, just being out in the outdoors and seeing nature for what it is,” Anthony said. “They give you so many life skills that you couldn’t learn anywhere else and I really think that’s important.”

Camaraderie plays a huge impact in team sports and is even more important to Anthony. During difficult games, he believes that every member of the team must come together to be on the same page in order to be successful. Over the course of the season, Anthony faced several obstacles during games as a co-captain of the team, always working to bring positivity to the table; this was especially needed during the last game of the season, where the team played a strong opponent.

“Our last game was pretty tough, we were playing a tough team. Every play was a fight like a true fight. I hadn’t really experienced anything like that because last year’s team did so well and I had never faced an adversary like that as a quarterback before,” Anthony said. “Just getting to experience that and fight every play and do your hardest every play was something that was tough and back breaking but we won. It was everyone just coming together and putting in their hard work to beat the other team.”