By Lilybeth Hernandez
Before coaching varsity football with the boys,staff member Steve Papin,can be seen the entire school year,patrolling Independence High school’s campus grounds ensuring students are in a safe and supportive learning environment.
Coach Papin has been a member of our school for 3 years and a coach for 5 years.
“Watching these kids come in as freshman and see how much they mature and grow as they leave as seniors is the best experience feeling for me as a staff member. I’ve learned to deal with different personalities and different backgrounds my years here.”
When he’s not fostering trusting relationships with students and improving school climate during the school day, he’s seen forming the same bonds with his varsity boys during team practices.
“I’ve learned in football that each individual has their own kind of personality and way of learning/training,and the way to connect with them is being able to realize that first.”
But what makes up his daily life of coaching and being a supportive system for a boy’s varsity football team, Coach Papin did what most would believe to be unexpected: become a girl’s softball coach. Coach Papin started coaching junior varsity softball in the spring of 2018 at Independence High when the team was left with no coach.
The season was starting in a couple of weeks,and although the team was motivated and eager to play,they were missing the main base: a coach. The team was practicing after school by themselves,which was going to waste if they did not get a coach as soon as possible.
“I actually suggested to be a coach to the sport director, Anne Finney, after the past coach was let go.”
The shift from football to softball was a whole new environment to get used to and a whole new sport with different mechanics and skills to be able to teach,but sure enough Coach Papin from football,soon became Coach Papin from softball too.
“I was excited to get a chance to learn something new from teaching girl’s rather than boys. It’s a different feeling coaching boys and girls because each are different in the way they train and how they show their emotions.”
It can be difficult to work both as a school staff member and as a coach for two polarizing teams, but Papin clearly enjoys his work as a whole.
“It does get a little stressful some days but it’s relieving when you take a step back and learn at the end of the day, you’re helping out the youth.”
Papin is now set to coach his 5th year of football this season and his second year of softball early next spring at Independence High School.
“I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon for the time being. Independence is my second home, and I love being a part of this Independence community.”
By Lauren Broker
In their final year of high school football, seniors Elijah Chew and Jordan Ausbie have much to say about the sport itself and the rest of the season for their team. With a record of 7-0 the two seventeen year olds play a large part in the outcome of each game, in their respective positions of Defensive Back (Chew) and Quarterback (Ausbie.) At their Homecoming Game, the team defeated Branham High School with a score of 41-6.
Senior Elijah Chew, a player on the Varsity team since sophomore year, feels that CCS (Central Coast Section) is in fact attainable for the team with the right amount of time and effort put in. “Being able to maintain and know all of the schemes for each week on defense is pretty difficult but I think that putting the extra work in during practice in terms of drills and other stuff can really help us improve,” said Chew.
seasons he found that the most difficult part of the sport is: “Being able to bounce back after plays or under like a lot of pressure.”
With a team of 42 athletes, it’s important to have both individual and overall goals for the entire team. Both said that as team they’d like to make it to CCS and earn rings, but Ausbie spoke even further to say that his own individual goal was to become League MVP. “In order to improve I’d like to study the playbook more and just and be more coachable,” he said.
With an undefeated record both overall and in league, there are many events that the boys look forward to with the rest of the season. According to Ausbie, ”I’d like us to win all of our playoff games and make it to CCS but I’m mostly excited for our last home game, our senior night against Overfelt, and getting that win.” As seniors there are many “lasts” for them and they hope to end the season well. “I expect us to go to CCS and blow out teams,” said Chew, “I want us to increase intensity over the season and work on becoming a real A-League Championship team.”
By Lauren Broker
Starting from a young age she began gaining interest in sports. “I was a total tomboy growing up! I would play basketball in elementary school almost every day during recess and lunch with my friends,” answered Truong. Being an athlete has had a major influence on her, especially with how long she’s played each sport. “I’ve been playing basketball almost all of my life and running Cross Country for all of high school,” responded Truong. In addition to Cross Country and Basketball she began her Track and Field Career her junior year running the 100 and 200 meter dash. While Girls Powderpuff is not considered a technical school athletic program, she has been playing since freshman year.
With late practices, games, and meets, the demands of both her academic and athletic career sometimes interfere with each other. When asked about the toll taken on her with each sport she replied,” This is a hard question for me to answer. I have to admit, yes, it does get difficult for me to find enough time for homework, studies, and sleep, but I can’t really complain because I’m the one who wanted to do these sports.” Balancing between her two lives isn’t easy but she knows the demands of each. “I know it’s my responsibility to handle school and sports. I wouldn’t say I deal with it. I just do it,” answered Truong.
To some, playing multiple sports can seem like a hassle but she finds that the time and effort are in the end all worth it. “I absolutely think that playing three sports is worth it. The experiences and memories that I make with my teammates are something I cherish and I would never change any second of the time I put into each sport.”
As a Senior there are many lasts for her and she plans to make the most of each season. “I hope to make new fun memories of victory with my teammates. In Cross Country I’d like to beat my personal record, go to CCS (CIF Central Coast Section) for Basketball, WVAL (West Valley Athletic League) for Track, and lastly for Powderpuff to bring home that dub!”
By Enya Bours
She describes how being captain has a lot more pressure than the average player: “When you’re captain, you have a lot more responsibilities, like getting the girls together for uniforms, getting everybody to come to practice, bonding days, and all that stuff.”
Being a tennis captain is more than just organizing activities, however. Tennis is not an easy sport, and the opponents the team plays are often of a higher level than they are used to. Keeping her fellow teammates motivated before games is a task Huynh may not be formally assigned to, but is expected from her team. She stresses the importance of a positive mindset, especially in the face of these difficult opponents. “Everybody has a different skill set, and you just gotta believe in yourself to win,” she reminds her teammates.
Huynh also illustrates her goals for the team as well as her individual ones. “I just want everybody to have a good season and a good experience,” she explains. She was undefeated in her freshman and sophomore years, and only lost one game the season prior. This season, she has lost two, but is determined to keep it at that.
Like most students in high school, Huynh has more than just tennis to worry about. She has to balance being co-president of German Club and her job at a private tennis club as a coach on top of the workload that comes with school. Despite this immense stress, Huynh does not regret taking part in any of them. “I’m passionate about [tennis],” she says. And once again, she shows her model attitude when it comes to winning games, which seems to take a back seat when it comes to her team. They have not yet won a single match, but she believes their strong relationship with each other makes it all worth it.
But when the school’s athletic director begged for someone to step forward and be the coach of the girls’ tennis team, Dones volunteered.
Games were starting in a couple weeks, and although the girls’ tennis team had strong motivation to play, they lacked a coach. The team was practicing after school by themselves, which would all go to waste if they didn’t have a coach for the season. “I felt really bad, so I was like, alright, I played tennis in high school, so I think I can try coaching. I never coached before, but you know, I’ll try this one.” The application process to become the girls’ tennis coach was lengthy, but sure enough, Ms. Dones also became Coach Dones.
It is a lot of work to be both a teacher and coach, but Dones clearly enjoys it. When asked about what motivates her to go to work everyday, she responded, “Definitely the students and the players. [...] It’s not about the money, honestly, both teaching and coaching. It’s not like you get a lot.” She explained that being a teacher and coach was very time consuming, but it was the students and players that made it all worth it.
Dones is now in her second year of being a math teacher and coach of both the girls’ and boys’ tennis teams.