SAC Sound-off: It’s not about Perfection

April 25, 2012

“Practice makes perfect” is just one of the many phrases that inspire one to work harder toward the goal of obtaining perfection.

Though these words may be used to inspire perfection, that is not their true purpose. Perfection doesn’t exist, but the inspiration to reach for higher goals does.

My senior year opened my eyes up to the actualization that trying to be perfect was not what sports had been teaching me all along. What I was meant to take from them were the valuable lessons of dedication, drive, teamwork, and communicating skills.

High school sports are more than a tool for athletic development. They are a medium for creating mentally-strong people who can execute in difficult situations faced later in life. Not that one may perform perfectly in these hypothetical situations, but that one may be able to handle situations that require thinking outside of the box.

How great it would be for all student-athletes to know and realize these secrets – because for the ones that feel the pressure to be perfect, it may be a much-needed relief.

I have strived to be the best I can be, and I have achieved success by doing so. However, with that success came pressure to be perfect in an athletic sense.

My junior year I was named all-state in basketball and I won the MHSAA Division 4 discus championship. Negative comments from others during my senior year about my basketball games or field events in track used to make me feel insignificant and insecure. That was before I realized I have achieved great heights and I will continue to raise my pinnacle as long as I stay positive.

I will never be absolutely perfect; I’m only human, and the best anyone can do is try his or her hardest to never back down from a task at hand. 

High school athletics have molded me from a perfection-seeking mess to a confident, realistic, and optimistic person that finally realizes nothing I do in life is about perfection – it is about the climb of simply becoming a stronger person.

What I can strive for in the realm of perfection is a perfect attitude. The contagiousness of a good attitude will not only keep me optimistic, but it can influence others around me to pursue that positive mental toughness that is so often tested in sports.

Lena Madison, New Buffalo, senior

  • Sports: Volleyball, basketball, track and field
  • Non-sports activities: Student Government, Spanish Honors Society, National Honors Society, Special Olympics and Senior Olympics volunteer
  • Must-see TV: "Lost"
  • One shining moment: Winning the MHSAA Division 4 championship in discus last spring.
  • What's next: My plan for next year is to attend Notre Dame. I will major in pre-medicine and be on the track team.
  • My favorite part of game day is: ... right before every game, my team has a dance party. We get our nerves out of our systems by dancing them away!

PHOTO: Madison accepts her first-place medal at last season's Division 4 Track and Field Final. (Photo courtesy of Lena Madison.)

Performance of the Week: Novi's Ally Katinas

May 16, 2024

Ally Katinas headshotAlly Katinas ♦ Novi
Senior ♦ Lacrosse

Katinas scored four goals in Novi’s 16-6 win over Flint Powers Catholic on May 10, including her 100th goal this season and the 200th over her career. Entering this spring only 20 players in MHSAA lacrosse history had scored 100 goals in a season, and only 20 had reached 200 career goals.

Novi is 13-5 after Monday’s 15-3 win over Canton, an improvement over last year’s 8-9 finish. Beginning with the summer before her junior year, Katinas fractured both ankles – and one ankle twice – but she returned for the second half of Novi’s season as her team won four of its last five games. The Wildcats have won 10 of their last 11 games this spring and are No. 6 in the Division 1 Michigan Power Ratings (MPR). Katinas will continue playing next season at Detroit Mercy and plans to study pre-law.

@mhsaasports 🥍POW: Ally Katinas #lacrosse #novi #letsgo #100goals #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🥍POW: Ally Katinas #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #starbucks #chipotle #suits #dog #pilates #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

Past 2023-24 Honorees

May 9: Peter Roehl, Rochester Adams - Report
May 2:
Lilah Smith, Richland Gull Lake soccer - Report
April 25:
Mason Mayne, Lawton track & field - Report
April 18:
Alli Wright, Jenison softball - Report
April 11:
Chloe Wishart, Trenton soccer - Report
March 28:
Jenna Maki, Ishpeming basketball - Report
March 22:
Jaremiah Palmer, Niles Brandywine basketball - Report
March 15:
Leah Hodge, North Farmington gymnastics - Report
March 8:
Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Action photo courtesy of Chris Mucke.)