For Brookfield Bulldogs football team captain Brent Sparks, his days of playing at Burlington Field are behind him. Sparks was an all-everything for the Dogs in his tenure at BHS, terrorizing opposing offenses and earning multiple post-season honors. But it would be a simple letter with an opportunity that would energize Sparks once again.
“I got a letter from school that was sent there for me,” explained Sparks. “I opened it up and read it and it said Down Under Sports. It looked interesting.”
This letter was an invitation to Sparks to take part in the 25th Annual Down Under Bowl in Australia this summer. Sparks was one of only five athletes in Missouri offered this opportunity to showcase his skills on an international stage.
“I am excited, stoked actually,” admitted Sparks. “I am ready to go play for my country and for this little town.”
From a press release from Down Under Sports: “Down Under Sports believes that sport is the international language common to all countries and people around the world and that it can help remove cultural and international barriers. Therefore, the mission of Down Under Sports is to promote the growth, development and self-esteem of the individual athlete through sport; to raise the level of awareness and competition to the benefit of both the host country and the participating athlete; to forge friendships that bridge the gap of both distance and time, through mutual competition that promotes health and sportsmanship.”
The Down Under Bowl will take place this summer, and Sparks is excited to take this opportunity to hit the gridiron before heading to college to pursue a future Master’s Degree in Psychology. Sparks hopes to play football and attend Missouri Western in St. Joseph.
“I have been playing since fourth grade,” said Sparks. “Football has changed my life. I had a good coach who was like a father to me in PeeWee football, Jack Noble. My favorite part of High School football was just hitting somebody, its fun.”
Sparks’ mother, Stacey Bragg, is understandably very proud of her son. “I am very proud of Brent,” said Bragg. “I am teaching summer school so that I can accompany him on this trip. I was nervous to send him alone, college next year will be hard enough. There is also a benefit for making a sponsorship and filling out the letter. Down Under Sports is giving away trips to Australia, Hawaii and for a cruise.”