Say­ing good­bye to school sports

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Editorial - Rebecca Smith

There will come a time in your life when the fi­nal buzzer rings, when bat­tle wounds fade and scars re­main, when you no longer have to face that dreaded morn­ing grind. There comes a time in ev­ery stu­dent ath­lete’s life when they have to hang up their jer­seys for good and re­tire their well-worn shoes.

On June 12, Meni­hek High School held their fifth an­nual ath­letic ban­quet. While sit­ting in the gym­na­sium that has seen me sweat, cry, bleed and laugh, I re­al­ized all the miles each and ev­ery ath­lete has con­quered. Sports have been the heart and soul of Meni­hek, whether it is chas­ing a ball, swing­ing a stick, or run­ning a mile — sports have im­pacted the lives of stu­dents for­ever. From the sports played in high school, stu­dents have learned the im­por­tance of win­ning and los­ing, work­ing to­gether as a team, and the sig­nif­i­cance of a coach.

In April, the girl’s ball hockey team trav­elled to Dildo for provin­cials af­ter a close win­ning bat­tle with Mealy Moun­tain at re­gion­als. Meni­hek girl’s ball hockey has al­ways played ex­cep­tional, with this year be­ing their se­cond con­sec­u­tive win, but dur­ing this year’s provin­cials every­one was floored when the girls went un­de­feated.

Af­ter an as­ton­ish­ing 7-1 win, ev­ery coach and team mem­ber was blown away at Meni­hek’s record year.

Al­though the win was an ac­com­plish­ment to be proud, the grad­u­at­ing team mem­bers val­ued the win as tes­ta­ment to their se­nior year, as they re­flected on all the hard work they put in over the years. De­spite the girl’s ball hockey win, the girls’ bas­ket­ball team was not so lucky. Af­ter win­ning re­gion­als last year for the first time in seven years, the girls team felt they had this year in the bag.

How­ever, five min­utes into the first quar­ter game, they were knocked off their high horses.

Dur­ing their se­cond game, they re­gained their spark and won the game that has the po­ten­tial of be­ing the clos­est game in all of Meni­hek bas­ket­ball his­tory. Even though they took the loss in the cham­pi­onships, they re­al­ized the new­found fire none of them knew they had. Over­all, whether you are on a field, the ice, or a court, it is not about win­ning or los­ing, it’s about the love of the game and the lessons learned from it.

In Jan­uary, the girls’ bas­ket­ball team started train­ing for re­gion­als. Even though they knew each other through all of their high school years, they have an undeniable chem­istry on the court.

From the be­gin­ning, they hit it off, com­ing to prac­tice was never a chore and it was al­ways some­thing to look for­ward to at the end of the day.

The girls formed an un­con­di­tional bond from a pas­sion for shoot­ing a ball into a net. No mat­ter the sport, ev­ery ath­lete can tes­tify to the con­nec­tion they made with their team­mates be­cause they are the peo­ple you cry, laugh and sweat with.

In Fe­bru­ary, I had to say good­bye to the coach that made me into the per­son I am to­day.

Af­ter my fi­nal bas­ket­ball game, there was no stop­ping my tears from flow­ing. It hit me hard that I will never play on my hometown court again, or never have to give up my Satur­day evenings for prac­tise, and I will never hear my coach’s voice ring­ing in my ears.

My coach is liv­ing proof that a coach can­not only change a game, but a life. She’s taught me to keep push­ing even when all odds are against you, to see that hard work re­ally does pay off, and to al­ways keep im­prov­ing. Through all the life lessons she taught me, she made me re­al­ize the qual­i­ties I never knew I had in­side.

I have never seen my­self as a leader. When I started my bas­ket­ball ca­reer I was an in­tro­vert, now when I look back, I am no longer the same girl.

My coach shaped me into who I am to­day and for that I am for­ever grate­ful and I can­not thank her enough.

Over the years, we ath­letes dreaded this time. The time of good­bye, when all of our wins and losses be­come just memories. A time when teams sep­a­rate, and when we look into our coach’s eyes and see we made them proud. The sports pro­gram at Meni­hek is not just an ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­ity, it’s a pas­sion that unites us all.

This year’s ath­letic ban­quet is the last time many of us will sit in the gym and hon­our our peers and our own suc­cesses. In say­ing this I’d like to ac­knowl­edge all the coaches and teach­ers for pulling of this year’s ban­quet, and a spe­cial thanks to the spon­sor’s Pizza De­light and North­ern In­dus­trial Sup­ply for all their dona­tions.

In con­clu­sion, the time has come to say good­bye to the roar of a hometown crowd, sweaty gym bags, and the num­ber on our jer­seys, but no mat­ter where we go we will al­ways have the lessons learned and a gym floor to call home.

Rebecca Smith is a Grade 12 stu­dent at Meni­hek high school in Labrador City.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

On June 12, Meni­hek High School held their fifth an­nual ath­letic ban­quet. Pic­tured from left, Reg­gie Pike (Ju­nior Male Ath­lete of the Year), Ryan Le­brasseur (Se­nior Male Ath­lete of the Year), Jessie Rec­cord (Se­nior Fe­male Ath­lete of the Year) and Amanda Daniels (Ju­nior Fe­male Ath­lete of the Year).

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Grad­u­at­ing stu­dents with the ban­ner from School Sports Stars NL show­ing the school’s Silver Star des­ig­na­tion. From left, Wil­liam Hins, Ryan Le­brasseur, Louis Vil­leneuve, Jessie Rec­cord, Jenna Whe­lan and Rebecca Smith.

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