• August 14Look for pictures from the 2017-18 school year on the MSHS Yearbook Facebook page.

Megan Swanker
Since the ripe age of 6, sophomore Megan Swanker has been involved in sports, including a collection of soccer, golf, and basketball. However, with a passion greater than any of the others, Swanker has always gravitated toward the athletic pastime that is soccer. “I’ve been playing soccer a lot longer than the other sports, and I’ve put more time and effort into it,” Swanker said. “(Also,) I can take out my anger on the field. It helps take my mind off of things that are bothering me.” This exact mindset can prove to be an example for a positive and healthy lifestyle for students throughout Mona Shores High School. According to the Aspen Institute, physical activity is associated with improved academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores. Additionally, high school athletes are more likely than non-athletes to attend college and get degrees. Thus, it is apparent that working out frustrations in a productive manner, such as with the aid of a sport like soccer, can prove to be beneficial in virtually all aspects of one’s life. A skill that can be utilized in the everyday real world. The preference that Swanker contains for this healthful activity is seemingly genetic, too. “My mom played soccer when she was younger, around my age,” said Swanker, who added that her mom is a supportive force when it comes to her passion for soccer. “I play goalkeeper because she did, but it’s also fun because it is different from everyone else on the field and what they are doing.” Swanker’s talents currently reside with the Lakeshore Premier League in Grand Haven, where she is participating as their goalie for three hours a week. Also in Grand Haven, Swanker participates in the annual Soccer in the Sand tournament. This is an event in which individuals can form their own teams and battle among one another. The number of teams that participate range in around 350, and Swanker’s team, which contains Shores students Sarah Mikesell, Carlie McNiff, Raegan Cox, Peyton Erndteman, and Mallory Meston, has left as winners three years in a row. “The first win is my favorite memory because it is a huge tournament that travels around the country,” Swanker said. “We practiced so much for the win. It was amazing when the final whistle blew and we all ran together.” Swanker not only has the opportunity to better her mental health via soccer and to participate in memorable events, but it has also managed to introduce to her lifelong friendships. “My best friend, Carlie McNiff, plays on my team with me,” Swanker said. As evident in Megan Swanker, sports are able to favorably impact the lives of young students for years into adulthood. In Swanker’s case, she has managed through soccer to build strong bonds with friends, family, and most importantly herself. “It allows me to fulfill personal goals I have for myself and to show my physical capabilities. I also love the competitive drive the game has,” Swanker said. Soccer just may be the goal to happiness.

Megan Swanker, Staff Writer

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Staff