A Message to All Senior Student Athletes

We are part of The Trust Project

Congratulations to all seniors. One small part in your long journey in life is coming to an end and another one is about to begin. Before you play your final high school varsity games and then get ready for graduation I have a few thoughts and some advice to share with you.

1. Don’t rush these final weeks of the season

May is here and the final three weeks of the regular spring season are going to take place. Enjoy every moment with your teammates. Years from now you will be surprised how you forget about wins, losses and individual statistics and remember the special times you spent with your teammates on the practice field, bus trips to games or team meals after the game when you’re sharing a laugh.

2. Take time to talk to an underclassman about your experiences

Whether you like it or not you have a duty to your school and coaches. In these few remaining weeks take time to talk a younger member on the varsity team or maybe even on the junior varsity squad. You can make a difference in these younger student athletes lives.

Some of these young athletes might be playing in a sectional tournament for the first time and might be very nervous. Try to remember what you felt like playing on the varsity level for time and getting a chance to play in a playoff game.

There might be some younger members on your team whose overall performance can be lifted just by a few words from a senior captain or starter. By having these conversations you can make a difference and give back to a sport or team that has given you so much.

3. Take time to say “Thank you” to all Coaches, Athletics Administrators, School Nurses, Athletics Trainers, Guidance Counselors Janitors, Security Guards and Volunteers, etc.

There are a lot of people who work very long hours behind the scenes that allow you to participate in sports.

For example, nurses work hard to make sure you’re cleared to play. There are people in the athletic department who schedule your games and make sure there is a bus waiting for you after school to get you there. There are janitors and maintenance people who prepare the fields and gyms where your games are played.

A simple thank you to these people who make a lot more personal sacrifices then you ever know is a wonderful thing to do for a person and it doesn’t cost you anything to do this.

Athletic trainers who have been with you every step of the way make sure you tell them that you appreciate what they do. There aren’t too many athletic trainers per school. In most cases its just one person. Even if you never got hurt playing a sport these people deserve some kind words. Athletic trainers’ jobs are never done and they care very much about the student athletes they treat.

As for coaches please remember a high school coach is still a teacher first and coach second. Your coaches want you to grasp a specific athletic skill but more importantly they want you to learn intangibles attributes that will stay with you for rest of your life and that you will use in your future life. Some of these things are a hard work ethic, teamwork and sportsmanship.

Even though you’re leaving your high school it doesn’t mean you can’t stay involved. If one of you coaches made a difference in your life don’t forget them when you graduate. Let them know what you’re up to in college and after college. Just because you’re not on their current roster anymore doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.  What makes a good coach truly special is once you play for him or her who are a member of their team for life.

4. Have fun and enjoy these final games and practice

Remember why you played sports to begin with. Hopefully the answer has the word fun in it. Good luck in your future journeys. Never forget the lessons and values that high school sports have allowed you to experience.


Peter Gerken is a Westchester County native and has published previously with The Patent Trader and the Bronxville Review Press. While attending Boston College he was the sports editor of the university’s newspaper, The Heights, and served as a staff writer for the Boston College sports publication Eagle Action. He can be reached at

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.