PHS athletes continue multisport tradition

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Kelsey Cook

Sophomore D'Shayne James excels in football, basketball and baseball for the Pumas.

Once upon a time, a typical high school athlete might play football in the fall, basketball during the winter, and baseball in the spring.

Now, with student-athletics as competitive as they are, their focus tends to be specialized on only one sport. The idea of trying to balance or refine any other skill set is seemingly impossible.

At Perry, there are a select few who have broken the confines of one sport.

Senior Cameron Rua-Smith, junior Trinity Kaufman, and sophomore D’Shayne James – among others – each play three sports.

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“I admit it’s difficult, but not impossible. The amount of fun … the friendships … makes it worth it.””

— Trinity Kaufman, football/soccer/track athlete

Rua-Smith keeps busy with football, wrestling, and field events. Kaufman is a kicker on the football team, a forward in soccer in the winter, and member of the track team in the spring.

James, the traditionalist, picks up not only football, but basketball and baseball.

Though similar skills are implemented throughout all three sports, Kaufman wound up playing each for very different reasons.

“My love for football came from my dad; my love for soccer came naturally, and my love for track doesn’t exist but it helps me stay in shape and it’s something I’m good at,” she said.

The benefits to their all-around athleticism is a bonus for each athlete, and definitely shows in their performance.

“One sport will eventually contribute to another sport,” James said. “For baseball, it contributes to my arm if I play quarterback for football. For my feet with basketball, agility, all that stuff.”

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The ability to translate skills from one sport to another is any coach’s dreams, as the benefit of a well-rounded athlete is hard to come by naturally.

“The reward comes from a better physical condition and a gain in morals,” said Rua-Smith. “You can become well-versed in more than one sport.”

Like any student participating in extracurriculars, daily life plays out a lot differently than someone who has the night free to focus on schoolwork.

“It is difficult sometimes because I don’t have all the time in the world like most kids do to do homework,” James said. “If you have the mindset to play three sports, then you have to fit in school.”

For Rua-Smith, one’s heart has to be in it fully, or else the balancing act is for nothing.

“It comes from the love [of] being active and always doing something,” said Rua-Smith.

With time outside of school being heavily occupied with practice, games, and team bonding, the life of a tri-sport athlete is certainly not easy, but wholly worth it.

“I admit it’s difficult, but not impossible,” said Kaufman. “The amount of fun I have, the friendships I make, and the life lessons I learn make it all worth it.”