Making a Splash Both On and Off the Field

Sports Uncategorized
by Rebecca Stotsky, Sports Editor
photo contributed by Rebecca Stotsky

If you had asked me four years ago at the start of high school what I would be doing as an extracurricular or hobby, I would have likely told you my plan consisted of trying all the available sports at South, from the familiar — soccer and basketball — to the new — track and tennis. But I soon learned that sometimes what you expect in life does not always go exactly as you plan. 

For some context, I’ve played sports for a large part of my life, mainly soccer and basketball. I don’t know exactly why these sports in particular, but I always felt a certain pull to the field and the court, a place where it was just me and the ball, and my only concern was to score the most points. I played soccer and basketball for 12 and 11 years, respectively. 

It was through playing soccer and basketball after school that I made my first friends — close bonds formed through shared experiences, as well as our shared love of sports. Whether it was playing five to six days a week or watching the Premier League on the weekends, sports effectively took up my entire life.

On my teams, I pushed myself hard; being the smallest player on every one of my teams, I always wanted to prove myself and showcase my skills. Ultimately, I pushed myself a little too hard and injured my knee in 2018. I healed my injury by going to physical therapy where I worked on strengthening my knee and body. 

Upon returning to soccer my freshman year on the junior varsity team, my knee pain returned. I went back to physical therapy and repeated the same process of healing my knee, but after two years of this back-and-forth physical therapy, I was tired of being injured and of not having a resolution. 

Not long after, I saw a surgeon and was scheduled for an operation and had knee surgery in 2019. I spent the next few weeks hobbling around on crutches and within a few weeks, I was back at physical therapy. After four months of going through the process of building up my knee strength once again, I had recovered.

I found myself at a crossroads between returning to sports or finding new interests. Following my recovery, I began to reflect on my recent years of playing soccer, thinking about the time I’d spent recovering, to the highly competitive nature of the sport, to my intentions with the sport in the future. I finally realized that it was time to let it go. 

Now posed with the task of finding new interests, I tried as many clubs as I could. I continued to apply myself with the same dedication as I had with soccer and basketball, but I struggled to connect to the topics of the clubs and feel the same joy that others had for these clubs, so I continued to seek a space where I could be passionate and involved.

For years, a friend had been telling me about The Roar, and during lockdown, I decided to give it a try. It was an opportunity to improve my writing skills, reach out to new people and see my work printed in a newspaper. As I looked through the sections, only one sparked my interest: the sports section. 

My first article was a collaborative piece with my section editor on the new stadium lights, and ever since that Sept. 2020 issue, I haven’t stopped writing. I could at last combine my passion for sports with my interest in writing, and I was excited to explore sports from a much broader lens, meet new people and hear unique stories from countless peers, coaches and community members. 

Rather than just focusing on one sport or team at South, I could engage with several. I have gotten the chance to write articles about former student-athletes who continued playing sports in college, teams live-streaming their games and even recaps of sports seasons.

After a year of writing as a reporter, I became an editor for the sports section and for the past year, I have helped manage the section with two co-editors, writing and overseeing articles and designing pages for the paper. 

As I now finish my last issue and look back on my experiences, I am so grateful for my time writing for The Roar these past two years. Though evidently with some challenges with deadlines and perfecting designs, the welcoming community, enduring friendships and shared memories from paste-ups and meetings have added a splash of joy and purpose to my time in high school. I don’t know where my interests and writing will lead me next, but I know I will always have a place in the sports section and at The Roar.