Rise and Grind

The progression of the sun includes the rise, the climax and the fall. High school sports are just like the progression of the sun; throughout the day there’s a rise and a fall and a lot of good in between.


As the sun rises from the east, a new day begins. Days are extremely similar to sports. When the season first starts out, it promises great potential; the potential to work hard and get amazing results from one’s efforts. When the day begins, there is a chance to make decisions for better or for worse. There are many important factors that go into having a great season such as influential coaches, supporting teammates and full effort in order to make the season the best it can.

From Patrick Schoenfelder becoming the IHSA first place state wrestling champion to varsity football’s second undefeated season, ACHS’s athletic victories engraved into the memories of many students, faculty members and families.

However, starting off well does not guarantee a winning season. One of the most important factors for a successful season is to have a common goal for the team. Either as an individual or a team, having a goal allows one to place focus somewhere and work towards success.

Varsity football coach Brian Glashagel has been working towards his career goal for years: win state.

“On April 19, 2007, I said that we were going to win a state title,” Glashagel said. “We haven’t done that yet, so that’s my goal every year.”

Having a disciplined and functional team is only half of the battle. For each team, it’s necessary to have a strong defense, a reliable offense and clear communication between everyone.

“A great season is everyone getting along on and off the field and having good communication on the field really helps with the structure of our team,” junior Karina Steitz said. “When we have communication everything else just seems to flow a little bit better.”

Steitz plays on the varsity field hockey team which improved from last year and finished with a record of 9-7 due to their new found team cooperation and determination.

As cliché as it sounds, teamwork truly does make the dream work.

High Noon, 12:00 p.m.

The moment where all of the hard work, time and effort pays off now arrives for an athlete. Whether it’s an intense game or the best play of their athletic career, it becomes a staple moment.

Recent ACHS students have been lucky enough to experience successful sports teams, such as varsity football with their undefeated season and NLCC conference champions two consecutive years. Cross country had numerous victories with their most recent being winning conference 70-65. Sophomore Charlie Smith snagged first place in the conference meet with a time of 15:45:1.

A common trend between all victorious teams comes down to the player. The player must have motivation, concentration and determination.

The Unpredictable Storm, 4:00 p.m.

Then, the upsets start to come in. No matter what sport, what level or what division, an upset always seems to magically appear. Just recently on October 7, 2017, formally unranked Iowa State had a massive victory over number three ranked Oklahoma in football. The following week, NCAA football team Syracuse destroyed number two Clemson’s winning streak, creating a huge unforeseen hole in college football predictions.

According to Competitive Edge.com, “The main problem lies in having an outcome focus, specifically an awareness that the upcoming competition will be one sided in their favor.”

Upsets come from not respecting an opponent and not taking each play seriously. It’s important to take a deep breath, calm down and play the game. Every team has their good and bad days, but placing their trust into their teammates and coaches will ensure a quality game no matter the outcome.

Sunset, 6:30 p.m.

It all ends at once. The winning streak was crushed. The amazing coach retired. A high school athletic career is over after stepping off the field with a diploma in one hand and a varsity letter in the other.

The fall of a sport can be due to multiple variables all in different forms. Each athlete can experience at least one mid-season drought. It can lead the athlete to think about considering why they play the sport or not fully giving 100 percent effort. However, many athletes have been able to find ways to cope with their mid-season slump.

“I think about what I need to work on, but then I also tell myself what I have personally improved on throughout the season,” Steitz said. “You have to keep reminding yourself that it’s okay when you get in slumps because you eventually overcome them and you just have to stay positive because when you are negative nothing gets better.”

Not only do athletes get slumps, but coaches do as well.

“I think that changing the routine sometimes tweaking practice drills, and cutting out conditioning whatever you have to do to create [a new environment] just to change it up a little bit can help in doing that too,” Glashagel said.

In the end, there are days that the meteorologist will be wrong about the weather. There are practices where one is not playing to the best of their abilities. Everyone gets into a lull, athlete or not. It is part of how sports and how life works, but it’s important to know that the slump will pass no matter the circumstances.