Christian Anderson took his leadership skills home to the Bronx during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2017 Cardinal Hayes High School graduate helped at home after his parents were quarantined to their room for two weeks after they both tested positive for the coronavirus, and a strength and conditioning program helped him gain 20 pounds for his junior season as quarterback with the Army football program.
“I was really taking care of the house while they were sick,” Anderson told CNY of his parents Denise and Robert Earl, the pastor of Shekinah Glory Worship Center in Harlem.
“It was a scary time. I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I was looking at the news and seeing all the people negatively affected by it. I was scared. I thank God he kept my parents safe and they’re fully recovered now.”
Anderson traveled to Miami for spring break and returned directly to the Bronx in March, remaining home until June. The 21 year old borrowed a lifting bar and some weights from Cardinal Hayes and trained in his basement at home.
“The weight has helped me a lot,” said Anderson, who is now listed at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds. “I feel I would not have been able to survive some of these games being underweight.” Anderson is the second leading rusher this season for Army (3-1).
“He’s going to run the ball a lot in this offense and (the added strength and weight is) going to help him in our offense,” said Army head coach Jeff Monken. “I think gaining that weight and strength, that would help in whatever offense he was running, but it definitely helps him in our offense.
“He’s a great kid. He’s a very good athlete, and what I’m really excited about is he’s such an important player in our program and a guy playing such an impactful role on our team is from right here in New York City. I think he’s a guy New York City can really be proud of.”
Cardinal Hayes football coach CJ O’Neil says he is proud of what his former quarterback is accomplishing at West Point. Anderson threw for 3,653 yards in his senior season at Cardinal Hayes, earning first-team all-state honors from the New York State Sportswriters Association and leading his team to the state final.
“He’s a humble, bright young man who through the whole time that I knew him legitimately has just been focused, thoughtful and such a well-raised person,” O’Neil said.
“I’ve seen a young man who had tremendous potential grow into his potential.”
Anderson, a systems engineering major, shared why he chose to attend the U.S. Military Academy.
“One of the main things was I had an opportunity to serve this country,” he said. “When I was being recruited, I went to the (2016) Army-Navy game when Army broke its 14-game losing streak to Navy. I saw all the cadets go on the field. It was a pretty amazing experience for me. I wanted to play in games like that.
“The coaching staff, the players made me feel really welcome here. The education, it’s one of the top schools in the world. I knew that would give me opportunities once college is over.”
Anderson is hopeful the Black Knights will beat rivals Air Force and Navy later this season to capture the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy and earn a bid to a postseason bowl game.
“We want to accomplish all our goals and play our standard of football every week,” he said. “I think if we do that, we’ll win a lot of games.”