More Than A Hobby: How Sports Changed My Life


Shaun Ukeje, Staff Writer, reflects on how sports has had a tremendous impact on his life.

Shaun Ukeje, Staff Writer

At a young age, all I could do was watch but never play sports. I had three siblings who were always gone doing extracurricular activities like my brothers traveling for out-of-town tournaments or my sister performing for drill and step team. The Ukeje family required countless hours for my senior siblings but not much time for me.

In elementary school, I loved going with my parents to watch my brothers’ games, and I tried to envision myself being on that field or court. Being involved in the atmosphere and adrenaline-filled environment was a must for me. I constantly thought to myself how I couldn’t wait to be out there. I urged to replace being a fan and transition to becoming a player instead. However, my parents just couldn’t find the time for a fourth child diverting their life into sports. As a result, I took my knowledge of sports into video games.

Bryan and Justin, my two older brothers, regularly came home from tournaments and school and played the PlayStation 2. They loved to play PES and FIFA Street, two famous soccer games at the time. This sparked my love for the game of soccer. As a consequence of this, I was able to enroll in a YMCA soccer league as my first official sports organization.

Soccer started off as fun, but I began to lose interest in it. Here came middle school where I decided to play football for the first time in my life. I didn’t know much of the rules but I just seemed to have so much fun and love the game. Looking back, I didn’t think I would be taking my talents to another level at the high school stage.

Now, in high school I’m a sophomore on varsity who loves to play football and constantly works on my craft. I’m finally realizing my hidden potential and my chance to go to the collegiate level. Sports, but football especially, has provided me with an abundance of different opportunities to meet and oversee players above me. I’ve found a love to work out and study football whenever I have the chance to. In addition, I’ve created bonds that are now my best friends which we do everything together. Sports were the missing piece in my life that I’ve always known that I needed.