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At a recent Saturday lacrosse game, the boys team ended with a senior celebration. The time of camaraderie included speeches, photos and food, as is typical with senior celebrations across the area. But something about this one felt different.

The speeches celebrated that morning’s win as well as the athletes’ skill on the field–and there was much to celebrate that morning. Yet captains, coaches and younger players also did something else: They recognized that playing on this team was an opportunity to build each other up and demonstrate the character of Christ. 

We asked a few athletes to articulate how EC sports are distinctive. Here’s what they had to say: 

Q: How has the EC athletics program helped shape your character? 

“I’ve learned that being a good athlete can’t be measured necessarily by stats or praise given by people; it’s how you help your team and uplift your teammates. Over the past couple of years, I’ve changed from playing to ‘score’ by myself to playing to win as a team, and it’s been so much more rewarding.” – Gianna, Girls soccer, basketball, softball

“As an extrovert, I love the opportunity to build relationships with such a loving and Christian team. Our firm foundation in Christ as athletes is what makes EC athletics stand out.” – Jaclyn, Girls tennis, basketball, track & field

“It has helped me really understand and realize that God truly deserves all the glory because he gave us all the gifts and talents that we use to play our sport.” – Caroline, Girls soccer, basketball, softball

“I think EC athletics has shaped me as a person by showing me what it’s like to not just be an athlete, but a teammate as well. And it’s not just a sport, it’s also a family too.” – Lucas, Boys soccer, basketball, track & field, lacrosse

Q: Can you provide an example or a story that really illustrates how the EC athletic program is more than just ‘doing a sport’? How have you felt cared for as a whole person?

“Our coach and teammates cared more about who we were than any scoreboard and that is the mindset we took to each practice and each game. We were able to find success because we focused on striving to do the best with our God-given abilities and glorifying him in everything we did.” – Michael, Boys soccer, lacrosse

As a new freshman coming into EC, I was nervous, but because of soccer pre-season I was able to meet some amazing people and see familiar faces heading into my first day of school. The upperclassmen were all so nice and sweet and they really made me feel welcomed. Not only were we able to play soccer together, but we could also pray with and for each other, which was very meaningful to me.” – Caroline, Girls soccer, basketball, softball

“Coach Goldstein built a program where we were not only able to capture significant titles and recognition, but also because of our respect and love for one another [in doing so], we earned respect and admiration from our competitors, some of which we formed friendships with. That is no small thing.” Sebastiano, Boys soccer, bowling, track & field

“I have been asked several times [by competitors from other schools] what my school is and why I would choose to go to a Christian school. It has led into conversations about my faith and what other people believe. There is one girl in particular who was a Christian in her school and she shared with me how different it was to be a Christian in a public school.” Anneke, Girls soccer, winter track, track & field

A: Is there a captain or coach you are particularly thankful for because they helped you become a better person? 

“I am thankful for lacrosse coach Mike Reed who has been a major influence in my life and has pushed me to be the best man and player I can be. He represents how to serve and bring others closer to Christ and he has impacted not only me but many others on the team. He has put so much into the lacrosse program at EC and I am incredibly grateful for all he does.” – Michael, Boys soccer, lacrosse

“I’m thankful for Coach Troast’s ability to balance out his knowledge and experience as a soccer coach, his love for the game, and his keeping God at the center. He emphasizes the EC athletic pillars. He really inspires me to grow as an athlete spiritually, mentally, and physically.” – Giovanni, Boys soccer, basketball

Coach Riley has helped me be a great basketball player. He always tells me what I need to improve on and how to do so. He also builds a strong connection with his players.” – Andrew, Boys basketball

“I am particularly thankful that I was able to have Mr. Apol as a coach. His priority is not just to teach people how to win, but how to use sports to become ready for life. He makes sure our focus is on others while still aiming to get better and do the best we can.” – Anneke, Girls soccer, winter track, track & field

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my lacrosse captains, Mike Cook and Nick Toresi. It was my first year playing, and they helped me improve so much. They are always positive, they are supportive and humble. Most of all, they have helped me stay focused on God.” -Andy, Boys soccer, basketball, lacrosse

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