For many high school athletes, the challenge of balancing a varsity level sport and the demand of five high school classes is a weight too heavy to bear. A two hour practice coupled with an extensive amount of classwork leaves any ordinary high school student in a heap of agony. The mere thought of having to balance two varsity level sports seems almost inhuman, but for senior Michael Tracy, it was a reality.
Tracy has played an imperative role on the Gull Lake boys’ soccer squad over his four years. His skill, determination and love for the game provided a much needed lift to a historically deficient club.
“I love everything about soccer,” Tracy said. “I love the fact that when I’m playing, nothing else in the world matters.”
Michaels artistry on the soccer field was noticed by Gull Lake football’s defensive coordinator, Kevin Meadows, who asked Tracy if he would have interest in kicking for the football team. Tracy saw the offer as an opportunity to provide a moxie to the football program.
“I really thought I could be good at it, and I was willing to help the team in any way possible,” Tracy said.
After reaching the decision to join the team, Tracy contacted the Blue Devils’ head coach, Tim VanWormer, and asked if he could be the team’s kicker for the 2016 season. VanWormer gave Tracy the green light to kick, officially placing him on the team’s roster.
“Honestly, I was a little nervous,” said Tracy. “I’ve kicked soccer balls all my life, but kicking a football was a completely different ball game.”
Not only would learning how to kick a football be challenge for Tracy, but the almost impractical balancing act of playing varsity soccer and football would prove to be an almost insurmountable task.
“It was very hard to balance two sports with my school work,” Tracy said. “I found it hard to make time for it all.”
Even though being apart of two major varsity sports was far from elementary, the rewards on the field were worth the extra time spent on classwork. In the football team’s nine games, Tracy knocked in six field goals, making him responsible for 18 points for the Blue Devils over the course of the season. Tracy even booted one in from 43 yards out, a distance that even some college level kickers find problematic. Tracy’s success carried over to the soccer field as well. He was a captain of the club, along with providing two goals during the season.
“It felt good to not only help my soccer team out, but to play an important role on the football team,” Tracy said.
Prosperity on the field was not the sole reward of playing two sports. Tracy had the opportunity of experiencing what “Friday night lights” were like, as well as growing closer with his football counterparts.
“I made a lot of new friends,” said Tracy. “I learned a lot from those guys, especially how to stick together as a team.”
Tracy’s devotion to each sport allowed him to be successful in both sports. Tracy said he had the opportunity to not only participate in the sport he grew up admiring, but he had the opportunity to experience the spectacle of high school football.
“I’ll remember this experience forever,” Tracy said. “The atmosphere, the games, the fans, I’ll remember it all.”