Glenwood Springs High School junior juggles soccer, football, golf
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Play three sports in one school year and you’re special enough to be in the running for male athlete of the year at most high schools. Play three sports in one season though, and you’re possibly insane.Whether elgible for the “wack-shack” or not, Glenwood Springs junior Clay Hawkins is a member of three Demon varsity athletic teams in the 2008 fall sports season alone. In addition to playing on the boys soccer team, Hawkins is the kicker for the undefeated Demons football team and a member of the golf team.At first glance, the feat seems improbable. How can one play not just one sport, but three in one season? Wouldn’t game schedules, practices and other commitments per team, overlap? Yes and no.
Soccer is Hawkins’ main sport. As he says, he’s been playing the game since he first learned to walk.”Soccer is the main, main thing,” Hawkins enforced adamantly. “That’s pretty much all I do. I’ve been doing it for so long and my brother played professionally for Denver so it’s really important to me.”So when the schedules come out for games and practices, soccer takes priority and everything else falls in line behind it. It also helps that he is merely the kicker on the football team, requiring him only to practice on Wednesdays and, of course, attend the Friday night games.Throwing in golf also isn’t the greatest challenge in the world simply because they mostly practice on their own time and the tournaments are on the weekends. With soccer matches on Tuesdays and Thursdays primarily, and football games on Fridays, it suddenly becomes apparent that the feat is possible.Possible. But how practical?”I think it has to be a certain kind of individual that can deal with that,” Glenwood Springs soccer head coach John Mount offered. “Clay is that type of kid, and he’s played soccer his whole life. We were able to balance it out.”
“Managing school work is probably the toughest part of it,” Hawkins admitted. “Just finding the time to get my assignments done can be a challenge.”Attempting the triple threat also presents its physical challenges on the body as well as the mind. Hawkins has had to battle through a hip flexor injury to build strength in his legs, which he will need throughout the fall season as he takes on soccer and football, two sports in which he will be kicking a lot.”Initially his kicking leg, hip flexor was kind of strained,” Mount said. “He was a little slower to begin the season but now as the season is getting under way he’s getting better, he’s getting dialed in.”Hawkins rotates between midfield and the occasional start on defense. This year he has been battling with a couple of other Demons for a starting midfield role, which coach Mount believes is in Hawkins’ future.Right now it’s about the present and when Hawkins was asked to try out for kicker on the football team, he jumped at the opportunity.”It’s really been amazing with the football,” Hawkins added. “I just went out there [football camp] and they said I was the new kicker.”
And the reason for golf?”My dad is a good golfer so he basically got me into it,” Hawkins said. “I’m just trying to be consistent and improve my scores.”Currently Hawkins averages in the 90s for his 18-hole rounds, leaving room for improvement. Having him on the team this year has been beneficial not only for Hawkins, but for the school as well.”We graduated a good portion of our team last year, so having Clay this year as a junior when he can get some experience and continue to improve his game is huge for us,” Glenwood Springs boys golf head coach Bryan Whiting said. “His big time to contribute will be next year when he’s a senior, but right now he’s a solid contributor.”So there you have it – Clay Hawkins, just your regular multi-sport athlete who loves to compete. What do you think?”It’s great,” Whiting chimed in on Hawkins’ feat. “It’s good that we have a group of coaches here at Glenwood that allow what’s best for the player. Being a multi-sport athlete is a great opportunity for the player to compete and get better as an overall athlete while playing the sports that he loves.”Crazy or not, at least one thing is certain – come college, Clay Hawkins will have that time management thing down.
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