I love to sing — in the privacy of my own car or shower — and can be theatrical in my own ways, but I never had the fortitude to try out for the lead in any school musical. I gave up the violin after four years and was never the academic overachiever who belonged to 15 different clubs. It was on the court where I felt most at home.
I credit my two older sisters with piquing my interest in volleyball at a fairly young age. I still remember sitting in the bleachers with my parents as we cheered on my oldest sister. I watched her play in awe and in anticipation for when it would someday be my turn.
In seventh grade, I made Frontier’s modified team as a setter. I continued to play each year thereafter as a defensive specialist — the middle spot in the back row — and advanced to varsity by my sophomore year. This meant that I would be playing alongside my middle sister. I still question her honesty when she said she was “OK” with her younger sister being on the same team. Thank God we played different positions.
When I think back on my years playing high school volleyball, I still get the same adrenaline rush that I felt before the start of every game. It was on the court where I was taught the most valuable skills and life lessons: patience, hard work, teamwork, leadership, acceptance, encouragement, failure and success. These are all attributes of an athlete in any sport.
With that said, it struck a nerve to see an item in this week’s Bee Heard that suggested West Seneca schools cut their sports. I know that not too many are exempt from feeling the effects of today’s economy, but a balance of all extracurricular programs must be maintained.
If I could thank every Hamburg taxpayer who unknowingly supported me during my youth, I would. They may not have had a say in how their tax dollars were spent, but my being allowed to play sports truly gave me a purpose in life.
As an athlete: I made friends, learned how to deal with opposition, gave and received constructive criticism, understood being a team player, and learned respect and how to be a leader. You need all of that in the real world.
This is not to say that sports are more important than academics; they are complementary to one another. High school is not getting any easier for today’s generation, and students need these outlets in which they can express themselves or find out who they are.
A reduction in the sports programming would be tolerable, if need be, but a total elimination would be catastrophic.
FOOD DRIVE — Eden Heights of West Seneca, located at 3030 Clinton St., will collect nonperishable food items from March 9-19. All donations will go to the Food Bank of Western New York.
For more information, contact Eden Heights at 822-4466.
by DAVID F. SHERMAN
SPECIAL ELECTION — The special election to fill the vacant seat in the 145th New York State Assembly District on March 20 is being contested by Chris Fahey, the Democratic candidate, and Mickey Kearns, endorsed by the Republicans. The Bee will not publish any letters to the editor, Bee Heard comments or other political material related to this election after March 8. The deadline to receive such submissions is March 5. Information on both candidates will be published in the March 15 edition.