By Colin Anderson
Emma Brown, Senior
Photo by Jason Duchow Photography
The relationships made as part of a group that’s been together for years is something hard to replicate outside of sports. While Sandpoint senior Emma Brown loves the competition and mental game of volleyball, she’s equally thankful for the friends she’s made while playing the sport she loves. “You build relationships with girls that you may have barely known before and grow to really appreciate each other. Also, I have learned that working with my teammates has helped me grow as a player,” she explained.
Emma’s love of volleyball started in the fourth grade. She played competitively in middle school and worked her way up from JV to the varsity squad as a junior and now senior. She is the libero, or defensive specialist, for the team focusing on digging serves and setting up the frontline players for success.
Through volleyball, Emma said that she’s learned to overcome the challenges of dwelling on things that go bad and to remain mentally focused throughout all competitions. “Volleyball is a big mental game, so if you are having a bad day or you mess up the play, you have to forget about it and keep on playing in order to succeed. I have learned to overcome this challenge by practicing a positive attitude and looking forward and not dwelling on the past.”
As Emma looks forward to her future, she envisions herself going to college after graduation. She likely won’t play competitively, but you’ll almost certainly find her in a rec league at whatever college she decides to attend. Achieving straight As has her lined up to go to almost any school of her choosing, and a career in nursing is something that currently appeals to her. “Although I haven’t fully committed to the idea of it, I am most likely going to study this in college. I am currently taking the Health Occupations course at the high school to help lead me on the journey to becoming a nurse.”
While overcoming obstacles and challenges is part of every high schooler’s experience, Emma credits her coaches and the competition on the court for helping her get over barriers that might otherwise prevent her from achieving her goals.
“If you put up a mental block you prevent yourself from succeeding. Instead, you need to work through the challenges that you face in order to grow as a person,” she stated.
Gerrit Cox, Senior
Photo by Jason Duchow Photography
Sandpoint’s Gerrit Cox enjoys having the football in his hands. He fell in love with the game at a young age and knew early on that he wanted to put on the Bulldog uniform when he got to high school. He achieved his goal of earning a spot on the varsity team during his sophomore year and followed it up with two-time All League selections at both the running back and return specialist positions.
“There’s so much to love about the game of football, it’s almost impossible to pick just one thing,” the senior said. “I’ve made relationships that will last a lifetime and created memories that will never be forgotten. Aside from that aspect of the game, I’m still just a kid that likes to score touchdowns and hit people.”
As a featured running back, Gerrit has one of the key responsibilities in moving the ball forward and controlling the clock and time of possession. He enjoys breaking down each play as it happens. “In football, you are forced to make the right decision quickly over 100 times a game, whether it’s going a certain direction or reacting to an opponent. You have to learn to stay cool while at battle with other human beings—which is a lot harder than it sounds.”
It’s in these quick decisions and pressure-filled moments where Gerrit believes he’s grown most as a person. “In football you are held accountable every single play, with the possibility of a teammate getting injured if you fail to do your job. I find something like that a very important lesson because, just like in everyday life, you’re forced with quick decisions, negative outside distractions and simply doing your job to benefit yourself and everyone else around you.”
As far as what the future holds, Gerrit would love to continue his football career if the right situation presents itself. He has a genuine interest in welding and is considering trade school as well. “I could see myself doing that for sure. On the other hand, I love being around sports, so I’m also interested in exploring different careers that are involved.”
In the meantime, Gerrit continues to work hard each week toward his team’s goal of a return trip to state, and to bring a title back to Sandpoint.