March 3, 2017
The final buzzer is sounding, the final pitch is being thrown, and the final touchdown is being made. It’s hard to leave things behind, a fact the senior student athletes here at Ottawa High School are having to face.
“It’s kind of sad, but I’m ready to move on to college football,” Drew Bones  said.
Students such as Bones have devoted all of their time to sports, Bones himself playing football, basketball, and baseball.
“Since I was a freshman, everything I’ve done has been sportswise,” Bones said. “My best friends I made through sports.”
He leaves behind a legacy with his teammates, all of whom broke records these past seasons in football.
“We beat Louisburg for the first time,” Bones said. “I was happy for the next week.”
Bones will go on to play football for Illinois State, and he isn’t the only senior going on to play college level sports. Ashaya Blevins  and Ryen White  will go on to play softball and basketball, respectively. Blevins will be at Lindenwood University – Belleville whereas White might be at Fort Hays.
“This coming is bittersweet,” Blevins said. “I am ready to play softball with the girls I’ve grown up playing with, although, I am not ready for my high school career to end even though I am advancing in my athletic career at the collegiate level.”
White also feels Blevins’ nostalgia, realizing just how fast senior year flies by. However, Blevins’ final season in high school sports has yet to begin, whereas White’s is ending soon.
“It makes me really sad,” White said. “I guess I didn’t realize it’s just high school. And now that my last game is Friday, I’m freaking out.”
Despite these feelings, they each are excited to step up their game and continue their passions.
“I’m going to play college basketball and it’s with a bunch of girls that love basketball, so I’m excited for that,” White said. “Right now, it’s just girls that play basketball.”
These athletes will not only leave behind countless memories, but they will also take many with them as they continue making memories in their favorite activities.
“I am feeling sadness in leaving my high school career because it has come faster than expected,” Blevins said. “But I am not leaving it behind completely.”
Sports will not be the only thing on their minds in college, as they also have plans for their future careers and goals to accomplish.
“My overall goal is to get into the NFL, but if not, I plan on getting my degree and getting my school paid for,” Bones said.
Blevins similarly has plans to study in the medical field, but will continue to play softball despite the workload.
“I hope to play softball to cut costs for college itself. I have a long road ahead of me going into medical school and all,” Blevins said. “It will help me build relationships along with giving me skills that cannot be learned in a classroom setting.”
All in all, sports have given back skills to the athletes that tirelessly put effort into them. They will leave with skills that will help them in the future, as well as in their day to day life.
“They keep me really focused and fit,” White said. “It’s taught me a lot of lessons, like to keep pushing when you’re tired.”
Sports, after all, is more of a lifestyle than simply an activity. There is a sense of loyalty learned from it, as well as building team skills. It is evident that many benefits can and have been reaped from these opportunities offered at the high school.
“I think basketball has helped me build who I am and has helped me be more confident in myself,” White said.