Two sophomore students on Athenian’s basketball teams get to the bottom of how Athenian’s sports teams are about more than wining games.
Trying a New Sport
By Christian Torru ’16
The men’s basketball program at Athenian is one of many great extra curricular activities available to students at our school. The basketball program is not only notable because it has a good division 5 varsity team, but because it is a program that accepts all and teaches students not only how to become better basketball players, but athletes, and more importantly, leaders.
In my experience–being a soccer player and a swimmer–starting basketball was a little nerve-wracking because I had never played on a basketball team before and I did not think I would do very well. I decided to play anyway because it sounded like a good experience and a place to be have fun with friends. Once I got to the first practice my freshman year, I realized that the season would be awesome, not scary. The coaches were very helpful and insightful, and I improved my game significantly in the first week alone, which I did not believe would be possible. By the end of my freshman season, I had become one of the top scorers and I was a starter.
Another thing I learned from my freshmen year on the team was balancing school and sports, because freshman year I discovered that high school is a challenge; you really have to manage your time so you can go to practice and be successful in school. Now that I am a sophomore and school is getting more rigorous, this skill of time management has been an extremely useful tool that has taught me to plan ahead so I can succeed in school.
Joining the Varsity Team as a Sophomore
By Max Vukelich ’16
Although I have only been apart of the basketball team for a month or so, I can already tell you how many great opportunities and privileges it offers. The coaches and the players do a great job of representing the school and being open to new members of the team.
Because I was the only new player joining the varsity team this year, I was expecting to be on the outside looking in for the beginning weeks of the year. I didn’t know the plays, I wasn’t very familiar with the coaches and their style of coaching, and I had only talked to a few of the players on the team before joining since I’m a sophomore and the rest of the team are upperclassmen. I thought that I would have a tough time fitting in with the rest of my new teammates, but to my surprise, I didn’t. All of the players that I hadn’t met before introduced themselves, were very respectful, and were happy to meet their newest teammate. They helped me along in the plays and gave me friendly advice on how to improve my game.
Now, just a month into the season, I feel like I can go to anyone in that locker room and I know they will be there for me. Some of my closest friends are on this team. If it wasn’t for this opportunity, I might never have been friends with let alone talk with these people.
The coaches, Tony Dominguez and Robert Henschel, were also incredibly delightful and compassionate to me in my transition to the team. They allowed me to ask any questions if I needed to so I could help myself get on the same page as the rest of the players. They have great relationships with each of their players. Even in this short time knowing them, I know they will always have my back, on and off the court. They have figured out how to balance Athenian’s nurturing environment with developing a winning culture on the court.
This unbelievable school has so many chances for people to express themselves and be apart of a community. If you don’t play basketball, I know that there are plenty of other teams and clubs that offer a similar atmosphere as the basketball team does. I am so thankful that I get to be a part of such an incredible team, school, but most importantly, to be with such amazing people. Everyone in this community thrives here and the basketball team is a great example of how Athenian’s culture can create amazing opportunities for its students.