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Athletes compare club to school sports

Isha Patel, Justin Wingerter, Staff Writer

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From the basketball courts to the softball fields, the swimming pool to the baseball fields, many students are involved in the offered sports programs in school along with their competitive club team outside of school.

Sophomore Casey Mills is entering her second year playing softball in school and said she considers the sport something to look forward to. Mills said she loves how she has created new friendships with her teammates and how she has been given an opportunity to play with girls she normally does not play with.

“[I like playing for] Southwest because it is just so much more fun; you have a better connection as girls,” Mills said. “Coach Schaake and coach Stelter, they are so much fun, and the whole game experience is just unbelievable.”

Mills said she got into the sport at a very young age, starting out with T-ball, then moved on to play competitively for her club, KCSA Dwight Mayhugh. There, Mills said she has been able to meet new people and improve her softball skills throughout the fall and summer seasons. While Mills said club team is more intense, she is more aware of her audience when playing for school than playing club because of the amount of people watching her.

“There’s a lot more pressure on the high school team because your peers are watching you, your grade and you have really good players that depend on you to help out the team, defensively and offensively, and so there’s a lot of people watching you, so there’s a lot of pressure.”

Other than the amount of pressure from her audience, Mills said she has added stress from the expectations of her performance she places on herself.

“Sometimes the sport can be really stressful because it can play mind games on yourself,”  Mills said. “Your mind connects with you especially when you’re hitting. And I also don’t like the days when I’m doing bad, [having] bad days, it all just [adds] more mind games.”

Similar to Mills, senior Meagan Walker said the sport of swimming is all about self-focus and consists of a lot of hard, mental work that helps make her a stronger swimmer.

Before high school, other outlets offer athletes the opportunity to build their athletic skills. Walker said has been swimming since the age of 12. After swimming for a few summers with her neighborhood team, Walker decided to start competitively with COOL, a local year-round swim team in Olathe.

“[With] club swim, the focus is on yourself, but it’s still a team sport,” Walker said. “It’s way more competitive and there’s more competition.”

Walker said she joined the school team to see what it would be like and if it was easier than club. She said she found the school team to be competitive, but not quite to the level that her club team was. Walker said the experience of both teams has positively impacted other aspects of her life.

“It’s just a lot of mental work, in my opinion, and it makes you a stronger person,” Walker said. “You build more character and I think that it [makes] me more committed to other things in life. I’m more committed to homework, staying on task and doing good in school so I can better improve myself when I’m in the water. It’s such a stress reliever.”

Walker said she plans to continue swimming after high school, and that she wants to go to a Division 1 college. Similarly, sophomore John Harrick’s goal is to someday play baseball at the collegiate level, which he said he is certain his club team training will help him achieve in the future. Harrick also participates in baseball at school, however he said he enjoys playing more for his club team, Prodigy Baseball Academy, where Harrick said they offer a different level of coaching and training.

“The high school team [has a] more laid-back attitude; [you’re] just kind of there to have fun,” Harrick said. “[With] club, you’re actually there to compete, win and show yourself off.”

While playing for the school, Harrick said he likes being able to play with his friends, and the break it gives him from playing on a club team. He said the difference between his two teams is the level of competition and slightly different etiquette depending on who they play against. A similarity between school and club teams are sportsmanship and team dynamic, which junior Cassie Forcellini said she has noticed through her involvement in both basketball and soccer.

“With basketball you really need to have a good team chemistry, because there are only five of you on the court so you really need to know everyone, and play as a team,” Forcellini said. “And soccer [is] the same way, but you’re a bigger team so you really need to just know everyone and how they play.”

Forcellini said the key to success as a team is working together, because no matter how strong an individual player is, the game is a team effort.

“[My] goals for my school team and club team would be getting to know everyone, working together and just trying to make everyone better,” Forcellini said. “Not just yourself, but your team and recruiting players to not just look [out] for themselves, but look out for the team and create a family environment for everyone.”

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The Mass Communications Site of Blue Valley Southwest
Athletes compare club to school sports