The term “ball is life” for many is referenced in a joking manner while shooting hoops or just messing around. For some, however, this saying is not too far away from the truth.
For sophomore soccer defender Daniel English, life with a ball at his feet began before he was even five years old. English’s grade school years’ schedule was constantly filled with baseball, basketball, sand volleyball, camps, training, school, and countless hours of soccer. Even though he’s bid adieu to his secondary sports to focus solely on soccer for both club and McNick’s varsity team, his free time is extremely limited. Not only has he been a varsity athlete since the beginning of freshman year, but he is also active in Service Club, Academic Team, Liturgy Choir, Respect Life Club, and Band. English is in the top three of his class academically, taking advanced classes such as AP US History and AP Calculus. “The hardest thing about being so busy with soccer is managing time,” English said.
For English, and many athletes like him, “off season” is a foreign concept. “Nowadays I have training and indoor all winter, club 4-5 days a week in the spring, conditioning during the summer, and high school in the fall,” English said. For him though, the love of the high school season, games, and team bonding as the varsity rafting trip over the summer outweighs the tough days of training and work, as he says of the fall season, “There is a sense of passion, family, and school pride playing for McNick.”
Similar to English, senior softball player Bridget Strotman has grown up with sports. Her dad, Tom Strotman, excelled at baseball and played for both the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals respective minor league organizations. “I grew up in the ballpark,” Bridget recalls. Some of her earliest memories are with her family at Reds games. “Softball and baseball have always been a huge part of me and my family.”
She began playing organized softball as early as the first grade, but even before that, her dad taught and preached the simplest aspects of the game in their backyard before he became her official coach. “My dad is always about the fundamentals,” Strotman said.
Strotman said the softball team spends so much time together through practices, games tournaments, and other team activities, that they are just like another family. “They understand my struggles with softball and everything else,” Strotman said. “It becomes difficult when you get into a slump. I have been in slumps before for two weeks straight. It is defeating… but once you hit that first ball, it is the best feeling,” Strotman said.
Her goal for the upcoming senior season?