Summit Prep baseball team provides a safe space for students
By Tyler McGuire
The baseball team at Summit Preparatory Charter High School has played a very big role in my life and has been a positive experience so far. It has connected me with many new people, and I have loved getting to meet them.
Personally, I did not know if I wanted to come to Summit Prep; I knew very few people here, and I didn’t know a lot about the school. Since I joined the baseball team, I have been a lot more happy, and my friends have even noticed a change.
The Summit Prep baseball team consists of 15 students: three freshmen, four sophomores, one junior and seven seniors. Although we do not have a lot of students playing, the team means a lot to each every player. Each player has a role on the team, and they know what they are there for, even if the role is very small.
According to freshman Adam Graziani, who plays on the Summit Prep baseball team, “The team means a lot to me because we get to play with seniors and look up to them and we can eventually follow in their footsteps.”
I personally agree with this, and I think that I can relate the most to Graziani because we are both freshman and it’s our first year on the team. We both look up to the upperclassmen to guide us, give us advice and show us how to keep our composure through tough times.
Another thing I like is that the team gives some students the chance to play and try something they might never have been able to do. This is because the Summit Prep team is about building community and not about excluding participants; most public high schools cut students who lack skill and end up excluding them, but Summit Prep does not do that.
Summit Prep sophomore Elijah Suissa said, “The team is a very big part in my life and means a lot to me. It also motivates me to stay on track with my school work and keep up my grades, so it is a win, win.”
If just playing sports can help motivate a kid to get good grades and keep up with his work, then sports seem advantageous. Suissa is not the only one to say that baseball motivates him to stay on track; I personally agree with that because baseball is really important to me.
Playing the game has given me more than just a uniform and a story. It has given me traits such as responsibility, caring and the chance to share my skills with students that I might have never even said hello to.
High school baseball plays a big role in the United States for many different students. That is not true just for baseball, but other sports as well: the BangorDailyNews cited a 2011 study from the National Federation of State High School Associations which found that 55.5 percent of high school students played sports. This shows how popular and important sports are to students.
I believe participating in sports probably makes the school day a lot better for all those students. I have seen students who are not able to participate because they do not make grades, meaning they have an incomplete in their classes or do not have high enough grades, and they have been really angry about it. Some even transfer schools just so they can play.
Also, sports can bring the whole school together by building school spirit. Even if you do not play sports, you can cheer on your friends who do and even just go to games to show your spirit and support your school. My friends would ask what time my game was and then coordinate rides so that they could all go and watch.
Another reason the baseball team is important to students is because it gives them a chance to get scouted. If a scout watches you play and he likes you, you can get offered scholarships and not have to pay a lot of money for college, and this means a lot to people who cannot afford it.
While talking to a lot of kids on the team, baseball seemed like a really important sport to them. They all were able to hangout, have fun with their friends, get outdoors and exercise – that motivated them to finish their school work.
Many of the students on the Summit Prep baseball team don’t play any other sports, meaning they don’t have a lot of other opportunities to show school spirit, have fun and hang out with their friends. Playing baseball makes them happy; I feel that a lot of the kids would be depressed and struggling with their grades if baseball was not a part of the school.
On almost every team, there are one or two players who are the captains. The captains are usually the oldest or the best and most responsible players on the team. It is a very hard role to take on.
Summit Prep senior Cavan Shannon, who is a captain, said, “The team is very important in many different aspects other than just playing the game – it builds character, it builds leadership and responsibility.” The team not only focuses on winning, we focus on playing the game right, having fun and building great character, he added.
The seniors we have on the team are mature leaders, and that makes the underclassmen show more responsibility and better character. The seniors set a good example for the underclassmen, who carry that example on throughout the years; it’s a good chain that happens.
The seniors are not the only ones who are given leadership opportunities and chances. Anybody who is up for it can step up and be a leader on the team, which I think is a good strategy. This gives students experience with such a great responsibility, and they will be able to master it once they are seniors and take it into the real world.
The team is not very big, so that gives us all the chance to form a bond with each other and get to know one another easier than it would be on a bigger team. A lot of the students take advantage of that in a good way, because if you are comfortable with your team you will play better and be stronger as a whole, rather than playing with students you’ve never said two words to.
Overall, the Summit Prep baseball team means a lot to all of the players. Not only does it get students outside, playing gives them exercise, and they earn valuable traits by being part of the team. Students will carry these traits, such as responsibility and leadership, into the world once they are done with baseball.
Featured image (at the top of the post): Summit Prep freshman Tyler McGuire bats against Fremont Christian.