Honoring the Pros

Sports practices are back in full swing and student athletes are proud to share which professional athletes inspired them to keep pushing themselves through constant fluctuations of both school and sports.


Professional sports play a huge role in inspiring young athletes and setting a good and successful example for them. Particularly, watching certain players and racers has an effect on how student athletes go about their training and even everyday life. The way young players view their game and develop their mentality is often influenced by not only watching sports on television, but keeping themselves updated on social media.

Senior David Caestecker is a multisport athlete, playing soccer and running both track and cross country. David has played soccer for the majority of his life, but only recently began track and cross country.

“With soccer, I would have to say my favorite thing is feeling the rush and excitement of scoring a goal, then running around to see all my teammates rushing over to congratulate me…with track and cross country, I would say the best feeling is the crushing workouts,” Caestecker said.

David’s mentality in both his training and gameday performance is something he can credit to the great NBA player Steph Curry, that many know and aspire to be. Although Curry is not a soccer player or a track and field runner, purely his personality, mindset, and influence is something that David idolizes. 

“He [Curry] comes into all his games with confidence knowing just how good he is and he always has a smile on his face. Not only is he an excellent player, but you can tell he is always having fun out there, and that is something that athletes need to keep in mind,” David said.  

Just like David, Junior Ryan Leonhardt finds motivation for wrestling within the wise words and work ethic of intense professional athletes and bodybuilders. Leonhardt said, “Professional athletes I look up to are Zyzz and Jeff Seid. I love their work ethic and how committed they are to bodybuilding. I try to put in more work and train hard like both of them. These bodybuilders showed me what people can accomplish if you work hard for it and they changed how I train.”

Aziz Shavershian, also well known as Zyzz, was an internet sensation in the early 2000’s and went viral on youtube for posting videos of his bodybuilding progress. Zyzz grew a large fanbase and even young athletes now are looking up to him and continuing his legacy. He died on Aug. 5, 2011, but it did not stop his fans from using his advice for their own training.

Leonhardt is definitely not the only student who has been motivated by a legendary athlete that has passed away. Sophomore Cy Mitchell, who plays basketball and does out of school drag racing, states that his athletic journey wouldnt be the same without the influence of basketball star Kobe Bryant.

“I look up to Kobe for his crazy mentality and grit towards basketball. He was an inspiring player and I grew up watching him, may him and his daughter rest in peace…I try to be at least a little like him and try to practice his leadership on the court,” said Mitchell.

Bryant, also known as The Black Mamba, made an enormous effect in the sports industry. His great title and amazing, unique skill on the court had always captivated his audience. His death in Jan. 2020 devastated the whole world, but resulted in young athletes like Mitchell incorporating even more of his style and sportsmanship into their game.

These professional athletes have a huge impact on students, now more than ever. With teens becoming more and more serious with their sport, it’s important that they have positive role models to depend on. These examples are just a few of very many who credit their success in sports to the major league players on television.