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Celebrating Athletics on The Hill

Celebration of Sports at Kents Hill School

During a typical school year and at the end of each athletic season, we would hold what we call a sports award ceremony. This year because of COVID-19 we were unable to hold each season’s sports awards at their customary time. Luckily, even if it was later in the year, we were finally able to have our Celebration of Sports. Our Celebration of Sports included awards, college signings, and of course, speeches given by Kents Hill School student-athletes. Included below are two written speeches by Kellie S. ’21 and Immanuel R. ’21, both whom are graduating and continuing athletics in college. We wanted to share their speeches as they were a perfect reflection of sports this year on The Hill. 

Immanuel R. 

Good afternoon, Huskies. Before I begin my speech, I want to give a special shoutout to all of the seniors in the place. Whether you were here for only one year, two years, three years, or for all four years, we’re near the end so make some noise for yourselves!

I’ve only been here for two years, but my time as a student-athlete on The Hill was a time of growth where I learned more about myself, I gained maturity, and I not only have become a better athlete, but I also have become a better person. I met talented and amazing guys that are my teammates and who are now my brothers. I’m thankful for every moment I spent here whether it was on the soccer field (well probably more on the bench I’d say), on the basketball court, and even on the tennis court where I was getting my a** kicked by some freshman!

I also wanted to give a special shoutout to Smitty who helped me out during the hard moments, especially when I first arrived here. Thank you for your support and for being tough on me. I will forever be thankful for everything that you’ve done and I will forever be thankful for your after-game banana bread! But more seriously, I am sure every coach had the same impact on their players so in the name of every Kents Hill athlete, thank you for always believing in us even when we didn’t believe in ourselves! Because of you, we were able to surpass our limits each day and we became better individuals thanks to your lessons.

Like all of you, I wish I could represent with pride the color of the Huskies one last time but hey, we all knew this day would come, and I know for a fact that once you are a Husky, you will always be a Husky! ONE TEAM, ONE PACK!

Thank you, everyone.

Kellie S. 

I think we can all agree that this year’s athletics were nothing like any of us were expecting. To say the least, it kinda sucked. This was the first time ever that the seniors had to worry about not being able to play. It was scary knowing that, as a senior, I might not be able to put on my uniform for the last time and that there was a possibility of never experiencing a senior season. COVID brought a lot of unknowns to our athletic world. Regardless of that, in a way, as a student body, we were able to persevere. Athletics is one of the many things that hold this campus together—and for many of us, it’s what keeps us going. 

I want to talk about the importance of sports on campus. For me, sports is an outlet. It isn’t just something I love doing—it's something that I look forward to every—single—day. I think many students can agree when I say a sports practice can be really uplifting on a bad day. Having space and the opportunity to practice with a team or with amazing coaches is something that can’t really be taken away. 

Especially at Kents Hill, our athletics mean everything to us, and we didn’t let COVID steal that. The majority of the time, all the odds were stacked against us, but we kept moving forward anyway. From COVID to new CDC rules, it truly seemed like nobody would be able to experience how important and amazing sports are on The Hill. Luckily, even if it was just practice, we were still given the opportunity to play. I think it’s important to remember not only all of the negatives we’ve endured, but also all of the positive things we did athletically this year. 

The fall season seemed to blow by before any of us even noticed. Although it wasn’t my ideal senior field hockey season, it was definitely one I will remember. There was an ongoing joke that the Field Hockey team ran more than the Cross Country team, and at some points, it really seemed like we did! However, I think it’s important to point out that we wanted to do that. Although most of us groaned or were upset about running back and forth across the Turf, there was also a lot of joy in the work we put in. 

Regardless of the fact we knew we weren’t playing games, we still had the same drive and passion for our sports. Even with everything that was happening at that point, every single team could be found putting in work, and in some cases, more than we had in previous years. Watching the soccer teams 3v3 tournaments or playing in scrimmages felt just as important as an actual game was ever before. Even if it felt bittersweet, in a way, it felt good to be sharing that journey with everyone. 

Moving to the winter—and hear me out—I might be going on a limb, but it was absolutely freezing and I dreaded walking down to the Alfond every day. However, I guess it was sort of enjoyable. The paths were full of students either walking up from the Alfond or down to their practice, although many others might not think much of it. It made me happy. Happy to see other students trudging through the snow knowing they too were also going to a sport they enjoyed. I don’t really play a winter sport, so I found myself in Fitness with some friends. We often stopped our practices or stayed after to watch the hockey and basketball teams, most of the time trying to figure out what they were doing, or who they were. 

At some points, I wished I was a part of one of the teams just because of how fun they made the practices look. The same effort and passion from the fall followed in the winter. The same drive and determination are what made the practices so enjoyable to watch. I think one of my favorite memories was watching the boys’ and girls’ hockey scrimmage. I felt like I was almost begging Hambrose to let me watch in person, and luckily she did (thanks). I had my eyes glued to the ice throughout the entire game, not wanting to miss a single minute because it was truly just that exciting. Just for a few moments, it felt like Kents Hill was its normal self. It was nice seeing athletes just being athletes. 

Finally, and probably the most exciting season is happening now...this spring. Spring brought much-needed warm weather as well as the exciting news of actual games. Even if we all only played about two to three games, it still meant the world to all of us. Being able to play our first and last season of the year was something we all desperately wanted and needed. It felt like all of our waiting for games was finally over. As simple as that we began playing, and it felt good to listen to all of the wins or losses Kents Hill had. It felt normal. Seeing and watching our teams play on our home field was an absolutely unmatched feeling. Being a part of the Softball team was awesome. Regardless of the fact we lost every game, we still managed to have fun. 

After our first game, our motto became “let’s not get Mercied” and in our next game, we did just that. Our final home game was one of the most memorable. We had already lost a player to the previous game and not even one inning in, we lost another. Forcing us to play down. As a team, we definitely earned the title of “Best Team Spirit.” Even though we lost that game, we left with our heads held high and it was one of the funniest, intense, and best games I’ve played here at Kents Hill. It felt like it was over way too soon, however, our spring seasons ended on a bang, and I felt accomplished as I finished my last game at Kents Hill. I knew many of the other seniors felt the same way. 

This year was full of tons of ups and downs, but yet again, Kents Hill seemed to keep going, and together, we finally made it through the year. I think regardless of what this year brought there still were amazing athletic moments on The Hill. The athletes are what made this year so fun. 

From the beginning to the end we all continued to play, push each other, and motivate until the end. So here we are, all in one piece, having a year of athletics that none of us expected. However, rather than us focusing on the negative, let's continue to focus on the positives: we played, we had fun, we preserved, and we upheld what Athletics means to us on campus. Before I get off stage, I want to say thank you to Ms. Hambrose, Mr. Reynolds, the coaches, our trainers, maintenance for all they did for us, as well as of the athletes on campus who continued to practice and grow together. Each of you allowed us to have a senior season and I will always be thankful for that.

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Although our athletics weren’t what any of us were expecting we still enjoyed them, here’s to next year where we will continue to share and celebrate all of the athletics on The Hill, as well as hopefully play more games! 
 

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