Looking back at two athletes’ journeys

Kelsey Lu, Business/PR Manager

As the bell rings, students can be seen running toward the gate, heading home after a tiresome day of watching history documentaries or performing chemistry labs. Other students, however, deviate from this norm, heading straight toward the swimming pool, baseball field or Stober field. This routine of afterschool activities has become a part of their everyday lives, as they have practiced their sport for many years. Since joining the middle school soccer team or swimming at the age of six, these students have experienced their fair share of rewards and hardships of playing a sport since childhood.

Sarah Sotoudeh

Sarah Sotoudeh started dancing when she was three years old after her mom signed her up for dance lessons. Originally a soccer player, Sotoudeh was attracted to the versatility of dance as both a sport and an art, so she decided to commit fully to the sport. As she continued dancing, Sotoudeh learned new techniques such as multiple turns. This cycle of never-ending learning is something she really enjoys and is never bored of.

Sotoudeh enjoys the challenges she faces while dancing; there are many technical elements to perfect, as well as facial expressions to add gracefulness to every routine.  Along with this, dance can cause many injuries from overexertion. In November 2015, Sotoudeh hurt her hamstring, requiring her to do physical therapy exercises and stretches at home. Despite her injury, Sotoudeh was determined to bounce back and grow not only as a dancer, but also as an individual.

As a member of the Valkyries, Lynbrook’s dance team, Sotoudeh learned a lot from her peers and coaches through their feedback on switch leaps and their advice on becoming more flexible. This has given her more self-confidence, which she takes with her to the dance floor and to the classroom.

In the future, Sotoudeh hopes to continue her dance journey because it has shaped her into the person she is today.

Andrew Destin

Andrew Destin’s passion for baseball stems from his dad’s influence as well as from the local baseball games he consistently attended since childhood. When Destin started playing baseball at the age of four, his dad coached him and cheered him on during games.

As Destin developed into a more competitive baseball player, he began playing under a new coach; consequently, he saw major improvements in how he played. He owes this to his coach Andy Tarpley, a former player on the Boston Red Socks. Tarpley helped improve Destin’s skills by teaching him new techniques. Although Destin is always improving, he has also encountered many obstacles. 

For example, Destin has been rejected by college coaches as a recruit for their college teams. As a result of these hardships, however, Destin has learned the importance of hard work and time management.


Today, Destin sees baseball playing a huge role in his life as playing baseball allows him to learn more about himself. It has helped him network with other athletes and visit prospective colleges outside of California. In college, Destin hopes to join a baseball team in which he can further practice and hone his athletic skills.