Athletics Beyond the Field: When Sports Isn’t About a Team
Some would say Max Kantor ’14 is a small fish in a big pond. Not many know the Staples junior has caught over 400 bull and over 200 hammerhead sharks in his accomplished fishing career.
As a gamesman, Max embraces the nature of the sport of fishing and thrives by the water.
Max has fished all over, from Alaska to Iceland, from the Caribbean to Montana. According to Max, at Yellowstone National Park in Montana he causght well over a hundred trout in the span of five days.
Of late, Max has strayed from the big game fishing he is locally renowned for. “Pretty much the only way I’ll fish now is fly-fishing both in fresh and salt water. It’s both more relaxing and more accessible,” said Kantor.
Max is one of several Staples students who participate in sports not known for their popularity. At Staples High School, sports like football and basketball receive all of the glory. Sports like fencing, archery, and even fishing, however, are hidden from the spotlight.
In the fencing world, the concept of “bowing down” after each match is evoked through Tessa Schroll ’13.
Schroll has made a name for herself in the local fencing world. Schroll started as a seventh grader and was hesitant at first, but grew to love the sport. The apparel that came with competing didn’t hurt either, she admitted.
“The head mask, the sword, and the glove, I must say, were quite invigorating,” said Schroll.
After fencing at the YMCA for two years, Schroll turned up the heat as she began fencing at Fairfield Fencing Academy.
Schroll hopes to fence in college and also predicts future success of the sport’s likeability. “It’s a very strategic sport, and I bet that soon it’ll become more popular,” she said.
Swords might make fencing seem dangerous, but what about a fear of heights? The next sport might pose problems for some.
Senior Grant Jessup has no such fear as he takes to the cliffs, competing against himself as a rock climber. Jessup has been and is still well known as a pure athlete, but likes to push himself and stray from team sports.
“I simply do it because I don’t have to waste my time with all that ‘team’ mumbo-jumbo stuff” said Jessup.
The senior climbs at Carabiner’s Indoor Climbing in Fairfield.
“Climbing really lets you push yourself to your physical limits. It is just as mental as it is physical,” Jessup said. As he grew in experience and skill in rock climbing, he ascended higher both figuratively and literally. “The highest climb I’ve done so far was a little over 350 feet,” Jessup said. The physical strain of a 350-foot climb, he stressed, cannot be described simply in words.
Fishing and fencing demand strategic awareness and a keen eye, and rock climbing requires physical endurance and power, but no sports require the technique, skill-set, and swag that skateboarding calls for, according to skateboarder Jack Roof ‘13. Sponsored by One Day Skate-Shop and featured on skateboarding websites as well as sponsored YouTube videos, Roof is a well-known 17-year-old and quite the pro. “My friend who was already sponsored talked to the guy at the shop and made it happen,” Roof said of his path to sponsorship. He took a liking to skateboarding at a very young age and practiced at the town skate park at Compo Beach.
“Since I was about four I can remember getting on my board and heading to Compo [Skate Park],” Roof said.
His first trick, he recalls, was a “shove-it.” A “shove-it” involves the skateboarder jumping into the air with his board, turning it 180 degrees, and landing cleanly back on it. “Now-a-days, my favorite tricks to do are hard-flips, heel-flip varials, and the occasional laser flip,” Roof said.
All of these athletes are accomplished and highly skilled in a way unique to them, and that’s the way they like it. “It’s very cool being one of the few rock-climbers at the school,” said Jessup.