My team always looks after each other. We take care of each other. We take pride in playing as a team and being known as loving and generous. We treat each other like brothers.
During the offseason, we all greet each other like we did during basketball season — messing around and joking with each other in the halls.
My coaches are included in this brotherhood. They are the light in the darkness for us. The coaches spend time getting to know us. They mentor and teach us. They bring a better person out of all of us.
Play hard. Play smart. Play together. Play for Him.
Before every game, Coach Plaisier, my head coach, writes those words on the board. We incorporate it as our motive to play hard on the court. We use this to prove ourselves in each game. It shows that we play for someone greater than ourselves.
My team had the opportunity to travel for our Renew trip. The Arizona portion of it was a discovery trip. We all unlocked another side of someone that we didn’t know before. I didn’t know their struggles before we went on this trip. Now, I can resonate and connect with them to help them through it.
We saw God’s natural beauty and how great God’s love is for each other. We hiked and saw big red rock cliffs in Sedona.
Kindness was the main message that we taught in the chapel that we held for middle schoolers. We preached about its impact on people — especially teenagers — through mini skits and personal stories. We were able to connect with students and teachers from the other side of the country. While planning this chapel, we had little to no help from the coaches. It was amazing to see a group of high school boys put this together and to see the impact that it had on the kids that we met.
We returned with a few days remaining in Renew. With that time, our team cleaned and renovated a church in Chicago, served and packaged food in Geneva, helped people at Park Place, and made blankets for the less fortunate.
Last year when I was a junior, the senior captains led with passion and determination. I try to do the same with our young team. I teach them to focus and play hard together. It is my job to be more vocal and proactive on and off the court. Timothy athletics has helped me grow with that. I used to just talk to my friends and no one else. Now, I can easily build friendships with people that I don’t know as well.
Mentality matters. That is one thing that I hope to teach my team. I want to emphasize the importance of bringing effort day in and day out and attempt to be the best teammate and player I can be, hoping that they’ll follow my example.
I was injury free until mid-December of my senior year. It started with a gash above my eye that took me out for four days. And when I returned, I walked onto the court wearing a face mask.
My next injury sadly took me out for the rest of the season. I severely strained my achilles. I needed to deal with this setback — I will never step onto the court as a high school player again.
This emotionally drained me.
I was just a few months away from an injury free career and finishing my senior season strong.
With a surgery to repair my achilles and five months of recovery in the future, I really put all of my trust in God. I pray every night for healing and patience. I tell myself that God has a plan for me. My teammates also encourage and uplift me to strengthen myself and my body. I do my best to be vocal and supportive on the sideline. It is such a slow process.
I came out of this stronger. I now know how to deal with tough situations. God, your team, and your coaches will always come through when the time is necessary.
My name is Justin Baez. I am a senior captain of the boys basketball team and this is My Timothy Story.