VIP / Kennedy Tetour
Seasons end, school wraps up, seniors prepare to graduate. As they walk out the doors of MCHS, nothing but memories fill these students minds — especially athletes. For some seniors, especially football player Paul Zunkel, their sport ends once they leave high school and others continue to play in the college of their choice.
“My favorite memory is going to [The University of Wisconsin at] Whitewater every summer because we grow as a team both on and off the field,” Zunkel says. “We compete and all around have a great time.”
As his senior year wraps up, memories are stuck in the head of the seniors like Zunkel.
“I am proud of how far I have come as an athlete because I struggled with injuries,” he says, “but my hard work never ended. I also grew as a leader which led me to be elected team captain two times.”
Injuries can create a setback when getting back into the game, but it hasn’t stopped Paul Zunkel.
“146 tackles on varsity in just three years,” he shares. “I am now in the top 10 of tackles all time at McHenry High School.” Overcoming his injuries was difficult, he says, but he pushed through it and grew into a better player.
Overcoming the injury is one thing, but having the motivation to play is another. Many athletes struggle with it.
“I wish I would have known that my hard work would eventually pay off,” Zunkel says. “I was eventually rewarded this junior-senior year, but having someone tell me to keep working because it would pay off, would have been nice.”
Seniors can be the most helpful to the underclassmen and those coming into high school, especially athletes. Zunkel tried to coach younger players this season and shared his advice along the way.
“Do not take anything for granted,” he says. “You never know when your last rep is, so go full speed each play and put someone on their butt.”
Growing up in a sport is one of the most exciting times for a young athlete. As they get older, sports becomes more and more serious and important to a person. As the day comes where you have to decide to continue on into college or stop, making the most of each game and creating memories becomes important for an athlete. A graduating senior Zunkel isn’t only sentimental about saying goodbye to the school, but also the sport and the coaches who have encouraged and pushed them through all the years.