MY TAKE – “ENJOY IT WHILE YOU CAN!”
My Take : “Enjoy It While You Can!”
by Chuck Feist
Remember your days in high school, before everything changed. You went to school, came home or went to practice (if you played sports), went home and did your homework (mostly after you went outside and played and then either talked on the phone or watched TV until it was time to go to bed.
Of course, that’s how I remember it back in the late 70’s.
Things have sure changed. Kids still do the same thing, but now after practice time (or if not on gameday), they have other diversions, but the end result is still the same.
One thing that doesn’t change is how many kids can’t wait to get out of high school and if possibly go to college and if lucky play college sports and leave their adolscent lives behind.
That could be a big mistake.
During the month of November, I began my tour of local College teams looking for insightful stories and adventures from our former area athletes and after a year or two away from the the high school scene the answers are usually funny, bright and sometimes philosophical. One message I sometimes get from former athletes is one that always seems to carry a heavy load, but often goes unheeded and that is “It all goes so fast!” Meaning enjoy your years as a high school athlete, because college is a totally different situation.
Both Baylee Harney and Presley Brown were former high school basketball standouts and are now playing and studying for their future lives at Belllermine University and both had a parting message to throw out to current high school students who were looking ahead.
“Don’t think like that. High school is the best years of your life. Once you get out of high school it’s the real World.” Said former high school athlete Baylee Harney.
“I played with three girls that I was with from middle-school to high school and that was special.” Said Presley Brown. The former LaRue County basketball star went further with her analysis of growing up in a small town and how everyone gets behind you and how she was fortunate enough to be the youngest (if that’s fortunate) of four sisters, several who played at the next level and the pressures of joy of that situation.
When your in high school, from the minute you start your freshman year, to the end of your senior year the clock is ticking and it doesn’t always go unnoticed. For some, it is a dreaded tick down. The first time I ever heard a high school senior even make mention of that was a duo interview with Kelsey Villwock and Tiffany Allen when Villwock talked about her final high school volleyball season coming to an end and how the pressure of selecting colleges and choosing careers was suddenly nerve racking.
It can also mean the end of several relationships that are created in high school and the beginning of others. Both Rachel Ayer and Abby Whelen grew up together in grade school in the Meade County system and were close friends, but when the time came to choose colleges and careers they were forced to go in different directions. During an interview after graduation, both Ayer and Whelan expressed their sadness with one going to Bellermine (Ayer) and the other to Lindsey Wilson (Whelan) that was about to end at least for four years.
It’s also not just a new beginning, but an end to your life as a competitive athlete. When both twins Lyndsey and Valerie Whitlock choose to go to Transylvania University (which is in Lexington, KY), they knew it could be a busy transition as both talked about always studying or doing term papers even after basketball games. The complexities of their majors (Lyndsey studied exercise Science and Valerie International affairs with a Masters in International Intelligence) eventually made it impossible to continue playing in college as the former Hodgensville natives only played together during their freshman year and only Lyndsey (she finished her bachelors in Exercise Science there) played during her sophomore year before leaving to pursue her studies at Columbia University getting her Doctor’s degree in physical therapy.
As a parting image, I sometimes see Robyn Jennings working security at the Louisville Women’s Basketball games. I remember covering Elizabethtown girls basketball for the first time during the 2004-2005 season and Robyn was a senior forward playing for a Lady Panther team that featured three six footers (Robyn, Sara Sexton and Alisha Dickerson) until their season came to a thunderous end in the semi-finals of the 17th District Tournament. Up until the NCAA Women’s Regional at the YUM Center in 2014 which is when I first saw her since that unfaithful night at Ron Bevars Gymnasium, my last memory of Robyn was that night. That’s been nearly ten years ago and I’m sure she has some great memories afterwards playing college basketball, but the ones she’ll most treasure would be those during her high school days at the Big “E”.
So as a message to all high school athletes everywhere, don’t be in too big a hurry to grow up and heed the words of Baylee, Presley and all the rest.
Try to take time to smell the Roses just one last time before everything changes.
You’ll have plenty of time to worry about being grown up.
Like say the rest of your life.
It all goes too fast.