Working to Make a Name for Myself During Varsity Athletics
The way most players get their shot in sports is if a teammate goes down with an injury. It’s an unfortunate way things happen, but just the way it is. If a star athlete gets injured, their backup has to fill their spot for a few games. If the backup performs well, once the star comes back the coaches may keep using the backup instead of the starting player.
A starting forward hurt his foot one game, so he needed to sit out for a few weeks. Since I played his position and was doing well on JV, Coach Adams decided to give me a shot with a few extra minutes during a Varsity game to see how I handled myself.
Since I’d been preparing for this moment for years, when I got into the game I was ready and did well. In the game after, I did even better and got more minutes. The game after that, I played even more. Game after game this continued until I was receiving a solid ten minutes per game on Varsity.
A moment which epitomized my progress was when I was shooting a free throw during one of the home games. Before free throws, the cheerleaders did a cheer then said the person’s name at the end. Since nobody knew who I was at the time, they did the cheer, hesitated, then shouted, “Shawnee!”
On the second free throw, I saw them looking around at each other, trying to figure out what my name was. A cheerleader from one of my classes knew me, and she told the other girls my name. Before I shot the second free throw, they did the cheer and said, “Tyson!” I was truly making a name for myself.
When the starting player returned from his injury, he still had his spot on the team, but not at the expense of my playing time. I was a solid contributor now, being trusted to perform my role. I was technically the sixth man, which is the player that gets subbed in right after the starters.
As the season wore on, Coach Adams trusted me more and more. Since I was playing so much during the Varsity games, they didn’t want me to play JV anymore. Some juniors and seniors may have resented me for playing ahead of them, but I was quiet and humble so they didn’t make a big deal about it. In my mind, I was just struggling to stay on the team.
This was how, during my sophomore year of high school, I was working to make a name for myself during varsity athletics.