Finding happiness in sports

Krish Dev and Aashi Venkat

Athletes say playing a sport is a source of happiness for many reasons, whether it be the unforgettable memories, the irreplaceable relationships, the thrilling victories or something else altogether. Scroll to hear three student athletes speak about joyful moments throughout their athletic career. 

Swimming through the years – Junior Pramath Doddaballapur

“I lived in an apartment complex that was pretty much opposite Central Park in Santa Clara. And in Central Park, there is a swimming facility called the International Swim Center. I would go when I was small to see [the] Arena Pro Series, which is where Olympians or collegiate swimmers — really fast swimmers — would come there to compete for prize money. I would watch them swim when I was young. And I think that’s what really got me [and my sister] into swimming. Seeing those fast swimmers and wanting to be like them, that’s what my goal in swimming is.”

“When you do club swimming, competitively on my level, [it] requires you to wake up [at] around five o’clock every morning to go to swim practice. Waking up that early, going through hard and grueling sets with your teammates, builds that kind of friendship and camaraderie. I’ve made a lot of friends in my clubs and even across clubs, because we all appreciate the hard work each person puts in.”

“A lot of people in my club want to continue swimming through college. I am not sure about that, [because] college swimming and being a student athlete is a big deal. It’s a big jump to make. Right now I think I’ll be swimming for the next year through senior year and see how far I go. We’ll see from there if I want to swim [in college].”

Junior Pramath Doddaballapur smiling and posing for a picture with fellow swimmers after the first swim meet of the season. Photo | Krish Dev

Dancing speaks louder than words – Freshman Rhianna Prendergast

“It was during awards, [and] they announced our dance group and we were all really excited. We were kind of jumping up and down and when we did receive the award, they asked us what studio we went to and we were all just shaking. It was just a great memory for us because we know we worked hard on the dance, we know that we’ve cleaned [up the dance and spent] many hours in the studio. And it’s great to know that our hard work did pay off. And I think we were all just super proud of each other that we all came through, we all never gave up. With the support system that was there, and throughout the weeks we’ve been practicing, I think it’s helped and it’s come a long way and I can tell our teachers and parents were proud too.”

“Our dance was called ‘Love is Love’ and we did use rainbow umbrellas. It was about acceptance and love around the world. The variety of dancers that were on that stage portrayed a lot because back then, and even still today, a lot of acceptance hasn’t always been spoken or heard about a lot. So we were just trying to get that message across through [our] dance [and] I think a lot of people could hear that and see that.”

“This dance was a large-production lyrical, which was great because [in this dance] everyone was able to portray an emotion that they couldn’t always really feel, and we were all able to push ourselves to our limits and find the connection that the judges saw.”

Freshman Rhianna Prendergast dancing during the “Love is Love” number.  Photo | Courtesy of Rhianna Prendergast

Reminiscing Color Guard experiences – Senior Ariane Chen

“Even though I complained about having rehearsals, like long rehearsals, I’ll miss going to rehearsals and being with and spinning with my friends. There’s small interactions you have during rehearsals like during water breaks or helping each other out. I’m [going to] miss seeing these people every single week, just to do fun stuff.”

“For color guard we spend around 13+ hours a week in practices. And even though it can be kind of tiring, I think spending that much time with the Color Guard members is really fun and something that I’ll miss, like spending time with my friends working towards a show that we want to perform, and just having fun with each other.”

“I think this year’s might be my favorite show. This year’s Winter 2022 Show has been really fun because the theme is a sleepover and the point is to show to the audience that you’re having a lot of fun and being happy. Just by performing that kind of happy show, whenever we walk on to the floor to perform in a competition everyone’s super excited because it’s a show that people like to watch. And it’s a show that’s fun for us to perform, because the show is so happy. It’s just so fun to perform it.”

Senior Ariane Chen tosses a sabre during Color Guard’s performance of “Wanna Do Nothing With Me?” in James Logan High School. Photo | Sam Jo