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Calli's Corner: A legacy worth leaving

This biweekly column features life lessons and fresh perspectives on local sports from The Sports Report’s Calli Newberry.

When seniors enter their final seasons, they often set big goals and high expectations.

This is the year we’ll win a district title…make the State Finals…I’ll average 15 points per game...become a captain…break that record…

Whatever it may be, one final season usually brings about big resolutions, and that’s great. It’s always impressive to see what seniors can do. There’s something about knowing you won’t get another chance that brings an entirely new level of intensity and determination.

But those goals and expectations usually pertain to that just that one season, and when it’s over, we celebrate the achievements the athletes had, but that’s where we stop. We review the highlights, hand out the awards, and close the stat book at the conclusion of the year, ready to move on to the next.

After talking to Marysville volleyball head coach Kellie Kryscysnki last week after her team’s final match, she made this comment about her seniors:

“This group is very special to me. I’ve known them forever, since they were very little, and more so than their volleyball presence is just how awesome they are as teammates. They always put the team first and that's a legacy that’s more important than wins and losses. If we have kids who can be unselfish and play like that for years to come, we’re going to take our program to where we want it to be.”

That senior class was a part of back-to-back district titles, but they also left an impact on their younger teammates that will carry into the next season and beyond, and I’m sure there are many other coaches who could say the same about special classes of their own.

So what’s the lesson to be learned?

It’s not always about what you did, but rather how you did it. A senior who strives to achieve personal goals or helps the team achieve its goals for the season can accomplish great things, but a senior who works toward leaving a legacy with a “program” mentality will be remembered.

I asked my mom one time, “What do you think is more impressive: to be awesome at something or to teach someone to do something awesome?”

She answered, “To teach someone because that shows leadership.”

As athletes, I think sometimes a tinge of pride and competitiveness can leave us wanting to be awesome – the very best – and while that’s a fair desire and a good motivator, there’s still a greater legacy to leave.

What if you help take the program to new heights this season and your younger teammates do even better next year without you?

It might make you feel replaceable or like you weren’t the very best, but I think that’s one of the greatest legacies to leave because you can know the impact you had on your teammates is still playing a role in the team’s success even after you graduate.

Do your best to be awesome this season, and help your teammates be even better.


For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli

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