Saying goodbye: Once a Saber-PPreston

PAYTON PRESTON

Guest Columnist

During our senior year, we encounter many lasts: Last-first day of high school, last school dance, last time opening our lockers, last time putting on the jersey that reads Sabers across the back, and most importantly, last time competing under the lights of the field or court we called home for four years. 

Senior night recognizes those who have contributed their blood, sweat, and tears to an extracurricular. 

From freshman to senior year, many athletes lose motivation, so programs take this time to acknowledge the dedication few seniors have shown. Unless there is a postseason competition, senior night is the last home game of the season. Whether or not it’s the last game overall, senior night rips my heart open.   

After the game, no matter the outcome, many emotions are poured on the floor. Feelings of happiness and gratitude run through your blood. The fact that you got to play and be a part of the team, mixes with despair stabbing you in the back of your head telling you won’t play like this again. 

You thank your coaches for everything, but a million words couldn’t get close to doing the job. Teammates celebrate you as you’ve paved the way for the future of the program. Tears flow down cheeks as you remember you couldn’t wait for this day to come. If only we could pause time and appreciate these moments a little more. 

Since dedicating those four years to the program, you grew closer with not only your teammates but coaches, athletic trainers, kids who look up to you, and even opponents wearing a different jersey. These relationships are something that will take you further than sports ever could and mean a great deal more. 

Coach Chad Specht, the Central DeWitt girls’ varsity basketball coach, is someone who is now near and dear to my heart. I wasn’t the greatest basketball player by any means, and have almost zero skill, but he saw potential in me — not only in the game of basketball but in life, too. He taught me many life lessons that I will always carry close to my heart and I am thankful I had the opportunity to play for him with his excellent leadership and coaching ability. 

As a senior, saying goodbye to the things we know is the hardest thing we will have to do in our high school years.  

We say goodbye to our locker rooms, our sports shoes, our teammates, and the same pre-game routines which automatically became engraved into our head like the quadratic formula. We’ll also miss the school we played for and the community we represented, which showed never-ending support no matter how the season progressed.  

During my freshmen and sophomore year, I complained about lifting, preseason, postseason work, and going the extra mile to be better. Little did I know, eventually, I would do anything to play the sports I love in the Central DeWitt community one last time. 

I have encountered half of my senior nights already wishing they would progressively get easier over time. But, in fact, it’s the opposite. 

Many say senior year flies by, and I can only continue to say that is an absolute understatement. This community and school district will forever hold a special place in my heart. Once a Saber, always a Saber. Thank you, DeWitt.

Payton Preston is a senior at Central DeWitt High School and a part of a Composition II class, a college-level writing class offered at our school through Clinton Community College.