Vista Athletes: What’s next


Varsity football players enjoy their nights in the lights, but what’s it like when those moments are gone forever?

David Hull, Section Editor

After nearly ten years, Vista del Lago’s senior athletes face an interesting dilemma. Senior year brings many exciting opportunities and experiences, like applying for college and beginning to look to the future but while all look forward to what this brings, others question what will become of their pasts. Many are realizing this new transition in their lives will result in a loss of something they’ve been apart of their whole lives — team sports.

So much time is dedicated to youth sports. Practices can run anywhere from an hour to four hours a day. Many sports no longer give their athletes a summer break. Extensive practice has filled the lives of many students.

They have less time to spend with their families, less time with friends. These competitors love what they do and are willing to make sacrifices in order to do what they love, and despite all they’ve sacrificed, most would argue they’ve gained much more.

Katie Vretzos is a softball player at Vista. After her high school career is over, she has the opportunity to continue playing at University of San Diego. She is excited for this opportunity and will use the skills and lessons she has learned playing in her youth in college and in her future life.

“Softball definitely has taught me valuable life skills. I’ve learned to be a leader, get along with a group and work as one,” Vretzos said. “Most importantly, it has taught me how to overcome failure.” Other athletes agree.

Brannon Olive, starting corner for the varsity football team, has played football for nine years and learned valuable life lessons.

“Sports have helped me with being able to work with others to reach a common goal and has taught me the importance of hard work,” Olive said. With a work ethic developed from sports, Olive believes he will go far.

Despite all the lessons learned from sports, there are other lasting effects. After years of playing, many athletes suffer injuries that may permanently damage their bodies.

“I am worried that I will need hip and knee replacements by the age of 30,” said Michael Nelson, a catcher on the varsity baseball team.

He isn’t the only one to suffer from serious injuries, either. Vretzos has also suffered multiple injuries, including concussions, a torn shoulder and a fractured back. Injuries like these have a lasting impact and will be something these athletes will have to carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Brian Hull, a former tight-end at BYU, is reminded daily of the time he played football in highschool and college by the pain he feels from the injuries he sustained while playing. “I loved playing football. I would probably play again. My knees, both ankles, lower back and right shoulder are painful most days,” Hull said, “Still I would probably play football if I could.” Despite his chronic pain, his love for the sport has not died.

Although athletes suffer injuries, many would say it is worth it, claiming they gain much more than they lose. They will carry their experiences and friendships forged in sports throughout their lives.

For athletes with plans to continue their sporting careers into college, the future is bright. After graduating from Vista del Lago last year, former slot-receiver Blake Martin is now a freshman at American River College and is red-shirting this year with the hope of starting next season.

“Playing ball in college is more physically and mentally demanding,” said Martin. “Imagine going out to a practice seven days a week with an all-star team who ranges from age 18-25, some guys being 6’8 325(lbs) and other being 5’8 and can run a 4.3 40[yard dash]. Being average is not an option.”

Despite the demands, physically and mentally, Martin is loving it all. “I have learned more in college football this year than I have in my previous eight years playing,” said Martin.

While the future is uncertain, Vista athletes are prepared to forge ahead.