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The student news site of Downers Grove South High School

Blueprint

The student news site of Downers Grove South High School

Blueprint

Beyond the scoreboard: The impact of sports

Mustang+Stadium%2C+the+site+of+many+Friday+night+lights+and+many+memories.
Sebastian Blanco
Mustang Stadium, the site of many Friday night lights and many memories.

Beyond the urban streets and rural fields many kids grew up playing on, there is a profound effect the sports they play have had on their lives. This impact evolves as people grow older, through high school, into their adulthood, where some continue to play or just stay watching professional sports.

Senior varsity football and baseball player Will Potter is no stranger to the world of sports. Potter was the starting quarterback for the football team and is committed to Missouri Southern State University for baseball. The reason why he plays so many sports lies in his childhood.

“I played almost every sport growing up, from baseball to gymnastics. My family has a long line of athletic accomplishments, so playing sports was kind of just my thing,” Potter said.

Senior Will Potter makes a diving catch for a ball during the 2023 baseball season.

Potter also remarks how playing sports has had a profound impact on him as a person.

“You learn valuable life lessons that you can’t learn anywhere else. For example, something I’ve learned is [overcoming] adversity, which is one of the best traits a person can have. Also, having your best friends everyday practice makes it so enjoyable. You guys are both doing the thing you love with the people you love at the same time,” Potter said.

Another individual at DGS whose sport introduced them to new friends is varsity girls basketball player, senior Allison Jarvis. After initially playing softball and basketball during sophomore year, Jarvis chose to stick to basketball.

“I have met a lot of people through the sports I play. It’s really nice because sports give you the chance to meet people that you may not meet around the school in other places. It also gives you lots of people that share common interests with you,” Jarvis said.

However, the social aspect of sports doesn’t just exist on the field. In the stands, fans can come together and form strong communities. Fanbases with extreme passion like that can be found all over the world, ranging from Bills fans in New York to Ultras in Europe.

One individual who struggled with the social aspect was English teacher Zachary Kuhn, who is a soccer fan. Kuhn cheers for Liverpool FC, a Premier League team in England. Originally, he wasn’t even interested in soccer.

“It was Saturday, August 2013, you know the Cubs were on, but there were no NFL games, no basketball. My kids were running around, I was bored and I just flipped the channel and I heard this roar of a crowd, and it was Annfield [versus] Liverpool, home match, and about maybe 90 seconds to two minutes after I turned it on, Sturridge scored this incredible goal. I watched the crowd go nuts and at the time I remember Facebook was a thing and I posted, ‘Just watching this Liverpool Match, one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen, ” Kuhn said.

South’s very own Zachary Kuhn, avid Liverpool FC fan and PA announcer. (Caitlin Spindler)

After this experience, Kuhn stayed following Liverpool in that 2013 season, still remains a decade later, witnessing the team rise from mediocrity to the top of the table. Despite Downers Grove being almost 4000 miles from Liverpool, Kuhn has still managed to find fans at the school.

“I have a small little text thread: Mr. Culcasi, two of my friends from college are Liverpool fans, a former student, Kevin, Mr. Maloney, Mr. Lovelace and Mr. Caldwell… You find them, they’re wearing a jersey or a T-shirt, and you’re like ‘oh!’ Immediately there’s a camaraderie there,” Kuhn said.

These social aspects of sports, on the field and off, generate communities and friendships that have brought many individuals together like Kuhn. However for some, sports do more than just that.

Senior Joshua Weber has played for the DGS football team since the very beginning of his high school experience. Weber grew up around football, as he played the sport as a kid and watched the Packers and Western Michigan University growing up.

“One of my most impactful memories was the North vs. South football games because it’s really cool to see whole communities come together to support and watch both sides compete,” Weber said.

Sit down, watch a sport and think of its impact. Games have the power to unite countries on soccer pitches, cities in football stadiums and high schoolers with their peers.

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