Freshman balances school and sports

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Used with permission from Ed Sunkin

Sunkin leads over a Copley runner.

Rowan Klein , Reporter

As the school day at Revere High School ends, Freshman Joe Sunkin grabs his book bag, meets his friends and leaves to go to the fieldhouse. After setting his equipment in his locker and getting some light stretches, Sunkin is ready for practice. Practice starts, and Sunkin begins to work with the rest of the hurdling team, taking the time to perfect his form. 

Freshman Joe Sunkin is a three-sport athlete: a hurdler in track, a center in basketball and a lineman in football. Sunkin has been playing sports for almost 9 years. 

Sunkin began his athletic career like many others at a young age and hasn’t stopped for a second. From kindergarten to high school Sunkin has excelled at and enjoyed playing any sport he comes across.

“I started playing sports like rec league baseball and soccer in kindergarten so I could get a head start on my friends. I played some lacrosse and wrestled, and I’ve been playing football since second grade. I had wanted to use those sports to figure out what I would want to play when I’m older,” Sunkin said.

Because of his long connection with athletics, they are a very important part of Sunkin’s everyday life. Like many athletes the schedule dictates every free moment outside of school for Sunkin.

“Sports to me are a huge part of my everyday life. I’m a three-sport athlete, and I’m in basketball and track right now, so I have very little personal time at home. But, what makes up for all of it is how much fun I have when I’m playing sports, especially basketball. I’ve made a lot of friends through sports and seen a lot of personal development as well,” Sunkin said. 

When he does have personal time, Sunkin tries to make the most of it. Since Sunkin’s free time is mostly spent practicing he enjoys sitting at home or in lifting at the gym.

Joe Sunkin

“I really enjoy working out, so usually I’m in the weight room with my team. Lifting with the team is awesome. When I’m not working out, I’m playing video games at home with my friends or playing on my competitive AAU basketball team,” Sunkin said.

In track, Sunkin uses his height to his advantage in his chosen events. 

“I run hurdles and jump in the long jump occasionally. I have long legs, so those events are easier for me to compete in. The events themselves and my coaches have helped me improve so much as an athlete,” Sunkin said.

Junior Thomas Chrisman has high hopes for Sunkin’s future in track at Revere. Christman is a long-jumper in track and often practices closely with Sunkin.

“When he’s running the 110 meter hurdles race, he’s pretty competitive and wants to win, whether it’s against his teammates or other opponents. He’s gonna be a key hurdler for Revere for the next few years ahead,” Christman said. 

Sunkin is a defensive and offensive lineman in football, as well as a center and power forward in basketball. 

“Just like in track I use my size a lot, and that’s no different in every sport I play. A center or power forward in basketball is usually one of the biggest or tallest guys, the same goes for a lineman in football. I played special teams on varsity this year which was awesome. But anyway, I’ve always been tall so it’s a great strong suit I know how to take advantage of,” Sunkin said.

As a three-sport athlete, Sunkin has to balance his schedule carefully each week.

“It helps to separate the sports a little between seasons, but I have to stay on my grades so I can still play sports. My coaches watch my grades, so there are no excuses. I just focus on knowing what I need to do each day and it works for me. I make sure to participate in class and finish my homework on time,” Sunkin said.

Sunkin’s favorite part about sports right now is the teammates he has. Many of Sunkin’s teammates have played with him for years now and are close friends now.

“For all the sports I play, my favorite part is probably just the people on my team. Hanging out with my teammates is awesome and usually, the best part of practices and games for me,” Sunkin said.

Sunkin doesn’t have just one favorite moment in sports but rather a multitude.

“In baseball, it would be hitting a grand slam home run, then pitching consecutive no-hitter innings at Bath Baseball Park. In football, it would have to be winning the first-place trophy in the punt, pass and kick contest. Then in basketball, it’s not a moment, but being part of our Freshman team’s 19-1 winning season. Just recently I was awarded the Varsity Boys Track Athlete of the Week too, which was awesome,” Sunkin said.

Sunkin does aim to play college ball, specifically basketball, once he’s graduated. 

“I’m aiming to play sports in college, but it’s most likely going to be basketball. It’s the sport I’m most comfortable with playing in college, and I’m good at it. Right now I’m practicing basketball seven days a week on my skills, and I’m having a ton of fun,” He  said. 

Sports are all about physical sacrifices, but it’s also a mentality-based affair. 

“Some sacrifices I have made in sports are playing positions that my coaches and teammates ask me to play, instead of positions I enjoy and know I excel in, for the best overall team performance,” Sunkin said.

Freshman Brody Bard discussed Sunkin’s mindset on the field. Brody is Sunkin’s teammate on the gridiron and track having played together with him since elementary. 

“When we are losing, Joe is always making the game fun. There have been lots of cases where I have been down and Joe makes me laugh, and it just makes the game much better. I’ve been playing sports with Joe for years, and it’s been awesome to play with him,” Bard said. 

Sunkin has some advice for any people interested in athletics.

“My advice to people interested in track, basketball and football is to start building your strength and stamina through Revere’s Sculpt fitness sessions. I highly recommend joining a team sport. I like the people on my teams, and it is a lot of fun to work with teammates and win,” Sunkin said.

For the next two hours of practice, Sunkin will repeat many of the same movements time and time again, striving for perfection. As practice comes to a close Sunkin works alone for a few minutes, stretches, and goes back inside. Sunkin grabs all of his equipment and school gear, then heads home to get ready for the next day.