SAC Sound-off: A Tough Choice, a New Story

February 21, 2012

Heading into my junior year of high school, basketball happily had consumed nine years of my life.

Week after week filled with practices, conditioning and film. Basketball was more than my life; it was my love.

But with one decision, I left basketball behind.

When the opportunity arose to participate in West Side Story, I knew this was something I simply had to try – or I’d regret it. So, for once, I took a risk – while leaning on the advice of one of my role models, Shane Battier.

He had visited my high school, Detroit Country Day, during my eighth grade year to have his jersey retired. His speech that day followed many themes. But one piece of advice never left my mind. Shane said, “I regret not participating in a play when I was in high school. I challenge you to do something different.”

I loved playing basketball, but it was time to take a chance and try something new. I knew I would miss out on an amazing opportunity to sing and act if I continued playing basketball.

But there was much more to consider in making my choice.

After proving my abilities to the our varsity basketball coach as a sophomore on the junior varsity, I was moved up for the rest of that season. I had been waiting to be a part of the Lady Jackets’ tradition ever since I joined the Detroit Country Day community in 2005. I could hardly believe that all my hard work had finally paid off.

Once that season concluded with a disappointing loss in the MHSAA Class B Final, I was ready to help the team, in every way possible, achieve our goal of winning the championship the next season.

Then West Side Story became a possibility as well.

One day, I was discussing whether I should continue playing basketball or participate in a play, which always had been one of my dreams. As I listed the positives and negatives of both activities, my mom simply said, “Remember the advice Shane Battier gave in that speech at your school?”

I had an epiphany. I realized the decision I needed to make. 

I took a chance deciding to try something different, which honestly was one of the most challenging decisions I had to make in high school. High School is about finding your passions. You won’t know what you are passionate about unless you take a chance and try it.

Basketball still is my passion, but I have learned that sometimes we limit ourselves to one path and ignore our other passions because that is easier than challenging ourselves to try something different.

Butterflies filled my stomach as the curtains drew for our first show. I knew this feeling; I also had been nervous before basketball games, waiting for the cheers after I stole the ball or hit a quick jumper.

I used my sassy Jersey accent to portray my character from West Side Story. As laughter filled the air, my fear defused, giving me confidence in my performance – and reaffirming, for me, that I’d made the right choice.

Maria Buczkowski, Detroit Country Day senior 

  • Sports: Volleyball, basketball in ninth and 10th grades
  • Non-sports activities: Class Board (president), yearbook editor, community service club, theatre
  • Favorite class: Theory of Knowledge
  • Must-see TV: "Glee"
  • One shining moment: I did a pancake in our (volleyball) game versus Cranbrook this year, and we scored off of it.
  • What's next: I plan on studying biology or pre-law at the University of Michigan.
  • My favorite part of game day is: ... the pre-game speeches from our coaches.

PHOTOS courtesy of Maria Buczkowski.

Performance of the Week: Northville's Helena McLellan

June 2, 2023

Helena McLellanHelena McLellan ♦ Northville
Junior ♦ Soccer

McLellan, a standout midfielder, scored twice in Northville's 3-0 win over Belleville on May 22 to clinch the overall Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship. The Mustangs earned the opportunity to play in that game by claiming the KLAA West title with an 11-0-3 record, and they're 15-0-4 heading into Saturday's Division 1 District Final against Livonia Stevenson. 

An accomplished club soccer player, McLellan chose to compete for her high school team this spring for the first time and helped Northville to a No. 2 ranking at the end of the regular season after the Mustangs finished Division 1 runner-up a year ago. Belleville was ranked No. 8 in the final coaches association poll, and McLellan followed up her goals against the Tigers with another in Northville's 3-1 District Semifinal win over Farmington Hills Mercy on Wednesday. 

@mhsaasports ⚽️POW: Helena McLellan #performanceoftheweek #soccer #goals #scored #northville #mustangs #conferencechampions #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

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2022-23 Honorees

May 25: Mitchel Luck, Linden lacrosse - Report
May 18:
Ahava Le Febre, Holland tennis - Report
May 11:
Gracie Maloney, Macomb Dakota softball - Report
May 4:
Braxton Brann, Ann Arbor Huron track & field - Report
April 27:
Owen Patton, Vestaburg track & field - Report
April 20:
Lilly Damm, Millington softball - Report
April 13:
Larissa Huffman, Mackinaw City track & field - Report
April 6:
Darius Acuff, Detroit Cass Tech basketball - Report
March 23:
Regan Finkbeiner, Hemlock basketball - Report
March 16:
Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9:
Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2:
Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23:
Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16:
Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9:
Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2:
Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26:
Shayna Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19:
Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17:
Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

PHOTO Northville's Helena McLellan steps into a kick during a May 9 draw with Hartland. (Photo by Chris Mudd/National Photo Scout.)