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No Time To Waste

Gianna Chiappetta

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Student athletes strive to have playing time on their team sport.


Fingers sweating, heavy breathing, constantly fidgeting but sitting on the bench. Waiting to get their name called, athletes on the bench sit eager to get on the field. Being a part of a team does not mean equal playing time. One team and one family still means there is competition between athletes.

Antioch is known for having talented student athletes, oftentimes making it twice as hard to earn a starting position on a sports team. Those who are not as lucky to be first string are forced to work ten times harder to be considered for a chance at a starting position.

For senior wide receiver Javen London, a starting position was one of his biggest dreams. Growing up, London was not as lucky as other athletes. He did not begin his football career until his junior year, due to his mother’s disapproval of football.

“One day I just tried out without her permission and now I play football,” London said.

Despite his “setback,” he has worked extra hard to prove to the coaches he is worthy of a starting position.  For London’s first organized game of football ever, he was not prepared to get his name called. He spent most of the night worrying for the rest of the team and did not even consider the possibility that the starting wide receiver would get injured–giving him the opportunity to play.

“I didn’t play varsity, but it was the first game,” London said. “We didn’t have a JV game yet and the actual varsity player got hurt in the second play, so I went in for the rest of the game and it was a fun experience.”

From that day on, London’s dream went from wanting to join the football team to wanting to get out on the field again.

“I’m a real hype man,” London said. “I get everybody pumped up for games and at practice. I’m also a voice if somebody doesn’t feel comfortable talking to a coach about something.”

Getting his career started was not that easy, and proving his ability was

not any easier. But with the right mindset, London was able to earn a starting position in the game that holds a special place in his heart.

Some athletes are naturals when it comes to playing their sport, and others have to work for it. For junior running back Cole Niemi, playing football was not even a thought until his freshman year. Growing up, Niemi’s main focus was hockey. He did not consider juggling both sports until he started high school.

Each game day, Niemi’s mind set is hoping for the best and expecting the worst. He dreams of playing on the field, and never gives his hopes up that he will be given the opportunity.

“I go in whenever they need me,” Niemi said. “It’s just nice being part of the team and being on such a good team.”

When given the opportunity to play on the field for varsity, Niemi feels a mix of emotions.

“[When my name gets called] I get nervous, but also really excited,” Niemi said. “[Being a part of this team], means a lot. I feel like I’ve built a good relationship with the guys on my team and I consider some of them brothers.”

Not everyone is built to participate in a sport; with practice and patience, athletes can be taught how to be just as amazing as those born to play.

For senior varsity soccer forward Jordan DeLara, participating in soccer was one last item to check off his high school bucket list.

“My previous soccer experience would be playing soccer at my old school and also club soccer for my fourth and fifth grade years,” DeLara said.

Not only does DeLara want to leave Antioch Community High School as an alumnus varsity soccer player, but he also wants to be remembered for his role on the team and leave a legacy.

“What made me want to tryout for soccer this year was my passion to try things that challenge me,” DeLara said. “I have always wanted to tryout for soccer, but I have never had the courage to tryout for the team.”

Even though it’s his first year on varsity, DeLara is open minded for how he expected the season to turnout. Being able to play on varsity is a big deal. He has always been known for participating in the ACHS theatre program, but being recognized for his efforts in soccer is an honor he hopes will be remembered.

“Being part of so many extracurricular activities plays no effect on my role on the team,” DeLara said. “There are days that I have to miss practice to go to rehearsal, but that does not change my role on the team [and that’s the] same as all my other teammates: to just be a good player and give my all for my team.”

DeLara is always striving for the best, and he does not stop working until his dreams are achieved. The hunger he has to play on varsity is empowering.

“The time that I have on the field means a lot,” DeLara said. “It’s to show my family, friends and everyone else what I can do with some hard work and dedication.”

The eagerness to play on the ACHS soccer team has DeLara putting in his best efforts. He not only tries his best for himself, but to also make his family proud.

“When it comes to playing time I have to just work my hardest and hope the coaches like what I put on the field,” DeLara said.

In every sport, there is always going to be competition between players for playing time. Everyone has their story as to why they wish to be on top, but it is whoever wants it most and works the hardest for it that will end up with the longer end of the stick. ACHS is fortunate to have a wide variety of athletes to choose from, but it always makes the decision of who receives playing time much harder. Everyone has to be on their A-game, making for little time to waste. For those who waste time, they will be spending most of their time on the bench.

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