May 26 • 11:26 PM
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Almont athlete learns lesson in toughness

Dear Editor,

For most high school athletes, their typical routine may consist of brutal summer heat and a horrendous coaching staff, but my athletic career at Almont High School was something so much more than that—it was an adventure.

Those who I've become friends with have influenced me greatly and are some of the greatest people that I've ever met in my life. They have shown me how working hard and "playing my own game" is what's most important, and that believing you are good enough is what makes you a winner of life.

The sudden change in sports seasons was a bit of a heartbreaker for the Almont boy's tennis team, losing two key members to another sport. However, our coaches, Dean Sousanis and Nathan Immekus, perceived it more as an opportunity to make the returnees better players and help the beginners improve. That's just what happened. With a perfect regular season record, runners up at BWAC and Regional tournaments, the Almont boys earned another spot at the state finals for the 24th year in a row. Now, when I say "earned," I don't just mean extra laps around the courts or hitting harder to win more points, it's showing that we cared enough to make ourselves better and stronger each time we picked up a racket. Time and time again, we were constantly reminded by Mr. Sousanis that in order to be good at anything, including tennis, that "you have to be smart, but more importantly, you have to be tough."

Whenever the word "dedication" comes to mind, I think of the movie The Sandlot. This is because the movie is based on a bunch of ordinary small town kids playing a sport they love at any time of day "just because." Their stories are all interesting and inspiring, and this one is no different. Countless times I have been called in the early mornings and at the border of dusk to meet at the tennis courts to hit, "just because." It's funny how it works, how people do what they love for long periods of time for no particular reason. By doing this, our team bonded into one focused, sweating, diligent, and cooperative group of individuals. Walking down the hallways in school means friendly high-fives and pats on the back for all of us, and it continues to grow on and off the courts. For the next generation of Almont tennis players, this tradition of camaraderie will carry on without a doubt and the rest of us alums will look back and say, "Man, those were the days."

As for us graduating seniors, there's far too much to say and further, more to be remembered. So, thank you Andy, Dan, Ty and Logan for the memories that we share, for they have helped shape us into the men we have become. Years will pass and we will have moved on to bigger and more extraordinary things, but we'll never forget our victories and the lessons learned along the way.

Yes, it will be tough, but that's what we are, and that's who we'll continue to be.

Kyle Henry, Almont
November 07, 2007

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