Ethan Steinberg: Senior Testimonial

High School is a very interesting time in our lives. I like to think about it like a one-way flight to an unknown location. You don’t really know where you’re going or how you’re gonna get home but all that matters is making the most of it.

Throughout my four years on this one-way flight I have experienced a lot. Westborough High gave me incredible opportunities to meet lots of great people, play the sport I love and also learn some stuff along the way. One thing I did learn early on is that this flight has some turbulence.

Freshman year is one of the more forgettable years by the time senior year rolls around, however, it is where I created my foundation for the rest of high school. At the beginning of this year, I was going through a lot of family-related issues, this is also around the same time I became close with one of my now best friends Sammy. I made the JV basketball team as a freshman and would go on to start all but the first game of the season. This experience along with lots of hard work earned me a spot on the varsity roster for the playoffs. This was a very big moment in my life as it had been a dream of mine to play for the varsity basketball team, and there was my shot. As basketball concluded it was pretty apparent that we would be running it back with the same squad next year, as there were 4 players not returning and 4 call-ups. The Spring of 2018 started and ended as one big mental blur. I had some personal issues as well as growing tensions at home, my school year ended with my parents separating and my father moving to Worcester. Little did I know this was just the start of the turbulence.

Sophomore year, the forgettable class. Not quite the new kids in the school but not quite an upperclassmen yet. This year is one of the most ying-yang of my life. I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The issues at home continued and were now more of a constant topic of thought rather than just a thought that was triggered. I no longer lived with my father, the man who I have always looked up to and valued his words, but most importantly my best friend. I had no idea how to cope with the circumstances in my life so I turned to the only thing I knew, basketball.

The prior two seasons the Rangers made it to the playoffs and as far as the championship round of the Clark Tournament, however left both occasions with runner-up plaques. From day one of practice there was something apparently different about these groups of guys; however, it was never something that was spoken rather just known: there would be no runner-up plaques this year. We had an extremely talented roster and high expectations for ourselves. Coach Willar made it clear that if we got after it in practice we would get the results we wanted down the road, so that we did.

Practices were intense and physically every guy in the gym could have started for a varsity roster somewhere and we knew that, so we acted like it. Carrying ourselves with the utmost respect we played a hell of a season: 21-4, League Champions, Clark Champions, District Champions. I would like to give a special shoutout to Mike and Matt Doherty, Jakes Hughes, Dom Casparriello, Jack Lentine and Quinn Donovan, without these six as the backbone of our team we would have gone no where. I will forever be thankful for the experiences, friendships, memories and lessons that this team provided me, and all they did to pick me up in a time in my life where they didn’t even know I needed it.

Around this time is also when I started my journalism career, I took Journalism I during the second semester of my sophomore year, a class that I was advised to take by my senior captains during basketball and a decision I’m glad I made.

Going into my junior year I got my license, this was the first time I felt in complete freedom, no need to ask for a ride, no need to get picked up. Just me and my decisions, I think the possibilities of this story are endless now. However, I knew this, too, and decided that I wasn’t going to let it end the wrong way. It was around this time that I realized that this flight I was on had no destination, and even felt like it had no pilot. So that’s when I decided to fly the plane and control my own flight.

Family problems continued and so did the mental stress associated with it. So once again I put my focus to the only thing I knew–basketball. I played AAU basketball that fall and was making great leaps in my game. We had 6 returning players from the previous season and I was in a position to be a junior starter. I did everything I could and worked my tail off to achieve this goal of mine and I finally got it.

As the season got closer so did the festivities of being an upperclassmen, my friend Luke and Sammy along with myself started hanging out with a group of friends from Shrewsbury. This gave me more opportunities to meet new people and have fun, however also added additional stresses on top of those at home.

As basketball got closer, stresses got higher. I had the challenge as many of us do in finding a way to balance my time among school, basketball, family and friends. Junior year is a big deal in determining college decisions for the future; and yet, I have always been one who was heavily involved in basketball and more motivated by it then school so this presented me with some more turbulence.

Once basketball season started, every week was about school, basketball and fun on the weekends. This remained the case for the majority of the season. We finished the season 13-9, as runner-ups for league champs and the Clark Tournament. It was not the season we had hoped for, but it was a year full of learning as a player and a person, I was excited to get started grinding for next season. Little did I know the biggest spurt of turbulence was soon to come.

March 13, 2020 the world shut down. The Covid-19 pandemic is something that affected everyone greatly and essentially froze the world. I will not be one of the many voices who harps on all of the negatives that came with Covid, needless to say it was a bit of turbulence for everyone.

This outbreak stopped everything, school, basketball, shopping, seeing friends, seeing friends, everything. Just as many my world was thrown upside down. All I knew was to dedicate my time to basketball and keep my normality to the best I could.

Summer 2020 was somewhat normal and I had high expectations for the school year, unfortunately as school got closer it was clear that it would be nothing I thought it would be, we were going back to school twice a week and had zooms all the time. This was not at all what we were hoping but all I could do was make the most of it.

Once the ball started rolling, the year flew by. Before I knew it I was starting my senior season of basketball, a 12 game season with no playoffs. It shattered my heart hearing the plan for the season. I had the honor of playing deep into the playoffs for my first three years and now for my senior year as a captain I had no fans and no playoffs. Heartbroken.

The season finished with our team at 9-3. Once basketball concluded my senior year it seemed as if high school had too. The days and weeks started passing faster and my motivations had shifted. I was more focused on working and advancing my education in non-traditional ways.

Before I knew it, school was back all in, every student, every day of the week. This was a new feeling of normality and it made things go even faster. I am here today writing my senior testimonial and can remember every year like it was yesterday. I would like to thank every person who has been a part of this flight, to those who caused turbulence and to those who helped ease it away. Westborough High School has been an incredible four years and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. As this one way flight comes to a landing and every passenger heads their own way, I would like to wish everyone the best of luck and happiness wherever your next flight takes you.