The love of the game
May 12, 2016
The school year is drawing to a close and for many senior students the last few weeks of high school are a time filled with bittersweet emotions.
It is for them the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. For most youngsters their lives before reaching adulthood are largely defined by the time they spend between the bells at school. The dynamics created within those halls, and on the playing fields just beyond those walls, are defining features of the lives of almost every pupil.
For student athletes the emotions created by the end of the school year, and preparations for the working world or college, are made more complicated by the realization that, for most, formal competitive sports are ending. Many find themselves shedding tears as they walk off the field or court for the final time; knowing that all the joy they have experienced must now be left for younger students.
For Middle Park senior baseball players Chance Martin, Logan Miyauchi, Kyle Ciccarelli and Avery Steinberg the end of the year offers an opportunity to reflect. The four young men play on the Middle Park High School (MPHS) varsity baseball team and are the four starting hitters in the team's batting lineup.
As the four young men prepare to head off to college next year they looked back on their experiences playing baseball in Middle Park and what the sport means to them. They also talked about the feelings they are processing as it all comes to a close.
"Knowing it is going to come to an end at some point, that's the hardest part," said infielder Avery Steinberg. "I didn't think it was going to come so soon." "I'm in disbelief that it is over," said third baseman Logan Miyauchi. "We spend so much of our lives doing this. It has been such a part of our lives and now we aren't going to play anymore."
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"A lot of us played (baseball) during the summer," added Steinberg. "Forty to fifty games. This wasn't just a few months out of the year for us. It was pretty much our lives other than school."
The young men pointed out that except for Kyle Ciccarelli none of the other three boys have younger siblings that will be going on to compete on sports teams at MPHS.
"We are the last people in our family to be playing," said Steinberg. "So it is kind of the end of it for our families too."
Looking back over the course of their high school baseball careers the boys remembered struggles, successes and the friends and competitors they encountered on the field.
"We definitely overcame a lot," said team shortstop Chance Martin. "Our sophomore year we were like one and 20. We still had to come back after sophomore year and learn. It was a process."
The boys reminisced about several different games over their years on the field; wins and losses and stunning moments in their lives like grand slams and quick infield plays.
When asked what game particular stood out right fielder Kyle Ciccarelli highlighted the teams game against Sheridan. "Even though we got beat I think I had the most fun in that game out of all the games," he said. "Both teams just had fun and we played as a team."
"That game showed the true spirit of baseball," added Steinberg. "We were competing but getting along. We were all there to have fun and play baseball."
The boys played together throughout all four years of high school and have competed together or against one another since long before they entered the halls at MPHS. They finished their final year with their most successful season ever.
The four players highlighted the many people who helped them throughout their years including parents and coaches and were particularly thankful for the help and encouragement they received from Bob Franek and James Newberry, former assistant coach and coach of the MPHS baseball team.