Football, Sports

Wartburg JV football wins for a cause

Jerry Gunderson (center) was able to see his son Hunter (left) play the last JV game of the year while he was stationed in Afghanistan –Contributed Photo

The Wartburg JV football team played for a special audience on Monday, Nov. 6. The game was livestreamed courtesy of Wartburg KnightVision so one parent, stationed overseas in Afghanistan, could see the game.

Hunter Gunderson, a second-year defensive lineman, said he played football from a young age under the coaching of his father, Jerry. However, because his father is currently stationed in Afghanistan working for the Department of Defense, Jerry has never seen his son play in a college football game.

Even so, this doesn’t mean the pair don’t keep in touch.

“After every game, he would call me to ask what happened and how I played,” Hunter said. “He has supported me since I can remember.”

For the game against Central, though, Gunderson’s father wouldn’t have to call to see how the game went. He could see how it went for himself. KnightVision, Wartburg’s livestreaming service, worked the last JV game of the year as per his father’s request.

Jerry has watched every Wartburg varsity home game using KnightVision and reached out to the Knights head football coach Rick Willis to see if it would be possible to livestream a JV game so he could watch Hunter play.

“It’s not common practice, it’s hard to staff all the things KnightVision is streaming now,” Willis said. “It was our pleasure to provide his dad and other parents the opportunity to watch the game.”

Jerry said that even though he is away from his family, they are what inspire him to continue his service. He added that he enjoys watching Hunter and his younger brother Ben pursue their own interests, however far away he may be.

In Hunter’s case, his father finally was able to see his eldest son play college football.

“An opportunity to see my son do something which he loves makes me a very proud father,” Jerry said in an email interview.

Hunter was extremely grateful that his father was finally able to see him play as well. The distance between father and son has been taxing for both parties.

However, Hunter sees it as another reason to look up to his father.

“It has been difficult being away from my father, but I also know that he is serving our country,” Hunter said. “That is something I have always looked up at him for”

The process of pulling together the livestream was a team effort according to Willis. The football team participated in putting together a video to thank Jerry and other soldiers stationed overseas for their service.

“Going the extra mile, going above and beyond, was great,” Willis said.

The Knights defeated the Dutch by a score of 31-7.

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