Leaving LION

Hayden Claesson, Sports editor

Today, the day this issue comes out, is a sad day. It is my and many other seniors’ last regular day of school, and our time being Lions is rapidly coming to a close. While I am happy that college will open up a new chapter in my life, I am still sad that I will be leaving such a great high school in Lyons Township. The experiences that I had at LT are some that I will never forget, and I hope that many of you will have the same thought walking across the stage at graduation.

Coming to LT, the amount of people overwhelmed me. It was hard to get out there and make friends and talk to new people. However, I took the advice that I had always heard people say: get involved. Find something that you love to do and look for things that you think you may love to do. That way, you can make friends and memories at the same time. For me, I found my place in sports at LT. Whether that be joining a team, or simply being at games with your friends cheering on your school, LT sports can give you memories you will never forget.

I have been a swimmer my whole life and joined the swim team at LT. When I joined the team, there were kids that I have known through swimming, but there were also a ton of kids who I had never met before, and many of these guys ended up being some of my best friends. I remember my freshman year on the team I was in a lane of all seniors, something that I was dreading when it first happened. But as the season went on, those seniors took me under their wing and taught me lessons that I still learn from to this day.

While I wasn’t on the state team that won in 2016 and 2017, I was in the stands at Evanston Township High School with an army of other LT swim and dive superfans cheering on the team as they came out on top. Those days of getting up at four in the morning to get a good seat were some of my favorite memories in my past four years, and I will certainly remember them better than any football or basketball game that I attended.

I also took a chance in trying out for the water polo team my freshman year. I had never played before and the team had won the state championship in 2015, so I figured why not try out.

Trying out for that team may have been the best decision I have ever made.

Taking part in a sport that I had never played before presented me with an entirely new challenge from swim season. I was playing a team sport for the first time ever, and I learned quickly that you don’t want to let your teammates down. I worked hard to learn how to play the game, and my freshman year on JV water polo I was downright terrible. It quickly became a joke between me and my teammates how I couldn’t shoot the ball anywhere that was not directly at the goalie’s chest.

Yet I was determined to get better, and I worked hard all summer in order to improve my game and do well on the JV level. It also helped that I grew four inches from freshman to sophomore year. To my surprise I was also moved up to the varsity level for big tournaments.

Junior year was when things started kicking into high gear. I was a full time varsity player who had a big role on the team. The team got third in state and I made friends who I will cherish for the rest of my life.

My senior year I was elected by my peers to be captain of the swim and water polo team, and being one of those upperclassmen who helps mentor the younger athletes feels better than being a freshman receiving the advice in the first place. Being able to know that my impact on young people at LT means a lot to me.

The whole point is this: sports, especially ones at LT, are awesome. Being a part of one should give you a sense of pride, both for your school and for the people you meet when you a part of them.

It sounds cliche, but four years can go by in a blink of an eye. You want your high school experience to be one that you can look back on and make you smile. I implore all of you to take advantage of the many opportunities that Lyons Township can hand to you, go to the blackout game, join a sport or club, try out for that play, but whatever you do don’t do nothing, as that is the one thing you will regret.