“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.)
Sarah Bradley ♦ Clarkston Everest Collegiate
Junior ♦ Volleyball
The 6-0 outside hitter had 31 kills – tied for sixth-most in an MHSAA Final – with a .419 hitting percentage and 18 digs as Everest Collegiate came back from a two-set deficit to defeat No. 4-ranked Leland in five in Saturday’s Division 4 championship match at Kellogg Arena. The first Finals title in program history capped a tournament run that saw the Mountaineers also win their first Regional title. Everest entered the postseason ranked No. 10 in Division 4 and finished 32-4-2.
Bradley finished the season with 420 kills, adding 15 in a Quarterfinal win over No. 6 Marlette and 25 in a five-set Semifinal victory over top-ranked Adrian Lenawee Christian during which Everest also came back after losing the first two sets. Bradley was named to the Division 4 all-state first team after earning an honorable mention as a sophomore. She also plays basketball, softball and soccer for the Mountaineers and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field as she begins contemplating her college possibilities.
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Past 2023-24 Honorees
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
(Photos courtesy of the Clarkston Everest Collegiate athletic department.)