Hannah Gilhaus, sophomore, runs at her cross country meet as her first year on the team.
Hannah Gilhaus, sophomore, runs at her cross country meet as her first year on the team.
Photo by Lindsey Bitzer

Late for the game

Students join sports after freshman year

Mastering a sport can take years and years of training and preparation. Some students at LZHS have been playing their favorite sports since they were practically babies. Other students, meanwhile, are choosing to start new sports during their high school careers.

Evelyn Ramirez, junior, joined the bowling team during her sophomore year. She says she had never even touched a bowling ball before joining the sport.

“[The coaches] can teach you anything you need to learn. You can also ask your teammates [to help you],” Ramirez said. “They really helped me and encouraged me. I started practicing more and I would go out bowling with my friends. I definitely did learn a lot.”

While learning to bowl, Ramirez said her main goal was to have fun with her friends in a new environment. Although Ramirez says joining bowling has been an overall positive experience, she did experience some negative reactions from other people after joining.

“I feel like the worst part is being older on the team but not knowing a lot about [bowling]. It is kind of embarrassing in a way because you’re higher in school but [worse at bowling],” Ramirez said. “I felt like I was being judged heavily, especially by the other team’s coaches.”

Ramirez says that she has been able to look past these negative experiences and enjoy her season regardless. She says that she did not join the sport sooner because she was uninformed about bowling.

“I didn’t think about [joining as a freshman]. I didn’t even know what bowling was and I thought it was for weird people. But then when I tried it out I [realized] I am that; I am a weird person,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez is not the only athlete beginning a new sport after freshman year, Hannah Gillhaus, sophomore, decided to join the cross country team for the first time this year.

Already a member of the basketball and distance track teams, Gillhaus decided to join cross country because she enjoyed the team energy of distance track which is similar to cross country.

“I’m most excited to continue the relationships that I’ve built through distance track with my teammates and my coaches,” Gillhaus said.

Although Gillhaus was excited to join cross country, she says she was nervous about having to manage and balance all three sports.

“I definitely [thought it was] going to be a big time commitment with balancing sports, schoolwork, friends, and family. So, I definitely had to take that into consideration when planning out the rest of my year,” Gillhaus said.

Gillhaus already spent her summer balancing the three sports. She kicked off the summer with an intensive basketball camp and ended by working on her endurance for distance track and cross country by meeting up with several of her teammates and going on long runs.

Overall, Gillhaus says that she thinks joining cross country will be beneficial for her because of the immense value sports can add to life, no matter how late in life one joins.

“I’m really excited because sports have brought so much joy into my life,” Gillhaus said. “I think it’s just gonna be a really fun adventure. There’s definitely gonna be ups and downs, but the outcome is worth it to me.”

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