My high school sports experience was challenging and rewarding

Lexi Petri 

lpetri@uccs.edu 

     Three sport athlete. Tri Peaks League All Conference Honorable Mention. Most people would consider that a successful high school sports career. 

     My experience playing high school sports shaped me as a person. I learned how to handle obstacles and face challenges and to continue to be the best athlete I can be. I have my teammates and coaches to thank for that. However, many people don’t realize the challenges you go through to get to that place. 

     I didn’t begin playing sports competitively until sixth grade. There were always three sports every year: volleyball, basketball and track and field. Basketball was always my number one sport and my greatest passion, but that never meant I wasn’t dedicated to the others.  

     The biggest issue with playing sports at my high school was even if you have the talent and put in the work and did your best, if you weren’t popular or didn’t have the “name” in the school, you wouldn’t get to play.  

     Volleyball was my greatest challenge. I worked hard and did my part, I went to summer camps and I was at every practice. Yet, it didn’t matter. I almost quit during my junior year. No matter what I did, I wasn’t good enough to play varsity.  

     But I stuck through it. Senior year was my best season and I felt that my skill was recognized. 

     I was never the star player, and I knew that. But I felt that if given the chance to prove myself, I could have proven my worth and what I could bring to the team to my coaches. I also knew I wouldn’t be given that chance as a sophomore and clearly not as a junior either.  

     I always had good experiences during basketball season and my coaches knew I was working hard. By senior year I was starting every game and barely came out. That’s when I received the Tri Peaks League All Conference Honorable Mention award. It was clear that others saw my talent and realized how hard I worked to earn my spot.  

     Track was the sport that I didn’t have a lot of skill in. I wasn’t the fastest sprinter or the farthest jumper. The one thing that made track stand out over all sports was the coaching staff. It didn’t matter where you placed in meets or how fast you were. The coaches coached everyone and focused on all the athletes, and not just the ones that always placed and made state.  

     Why should athletes have to go through so much trouble just to play sports in high school? I wish I could go back and change the way I played or even the time I started playing sports; maybe something would’ve changed and I could have been better.  

     Thinking back to playing sports in high school made me realize how much I have grown. With all the challenges I went through to earn my place, I would never have imagined having been where I was my senior year.  

     Now that I no longer play sports, I realize how lucky I was and I appreciate that I was able to play. I just never realized how much I would miss being on the court and competing.  

A basketball in a high school gym. Stock photo courtesy of Unsplash.com