Shriners all-star game means more to Sapien

West Torrance High, (Torrance, CA), standout Offensive Lineman Kevin Sapien will play in the 55th annual Al Malaikah Shrine All-Star Football Game tonight. Sapien, who signed a letter of intent to play with Boise State in February, will join fellow Boise State commit Jason Robinson on the field, but the two will be opponents in the Public vs. Private Schools game.

Kevin Sapien, an All-Bay League and two-time Daily Breeze All-Area selection, earned a scholarship to play for Boise State. It's the chance to play for a Division I college program that he told the Los Angeles's Henry Truc he has always wanted.

"I've just always been told to make goals and achieve them," Sapien said. "You just have to work for them. It's not going to happen if you don't work. I knew I had to earn it. No one was going to give it to me."

Sapien is accutely aware, however, that he isn't just playing for himself. Like hundreds of players before him and the hundreds that will follow him, Sapien got a chance to understand the meaning and importance of the Shrine Game.

Sapien, besides the exposure to a higher level of competition against some of the best talent in Southern California, has already taken something else from the experience.

"Just to walk and the ability to be on the field," Sapien said. "Not everyone in the world has talent. What you have, you have to work harder to get the highest potential of what you've got."

Sapien, who also made the Daily Breeze All-Area track and field team in the shot put, said he learned the merits of hard work from his older brother, Aaron.

"I still talk to him every other night," Sapien said of Aaron, who is attending Sacramento State. "He's probably the biggest influence on me football-wise, and life in general."

That's one reason why the Shrine Game has added meaning for Sapien. Aaron, after discovering nerve damage to his shoulder from high school, can no longer play football.

"He's done playing football right now," Sapien said. "I think that's what gives me motivation right now. To see someone work so hard and to see it taken away. It's hard."

As Sapien continues to the next level of his career, he's learning more and more about the importance of not taking the things he learned for granted.

"Pretty much everything my brother did for me, I did for my team," Sapien said. "That's what they're supposed to be. They're supposed to be like your brothers."

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