Puyallup: Sports

Local athletes head into a well-deserved winter break

As we head into the winter break, many local athletes are starting to wind down after a busy start to the winter sport season.

It is a deserved time off as balancing life, sports and academics can be challenging, and this is the time to recharge to go at that second-half push. For being a student is a full-time job, while athletes are often a second part-time one when they play sports.

It’s tiring and exhausting, and this winter break is well deserved.

“You really don’t have a whole lot of time for yourself,” Rogers High cross country runner Tyler Ward said.

“To maximize your time, you have to get the most out of your schedule,” Aidan Smith added. “Even when you do schedule everything, it still means late nights when there’s homework.”

It’s funny how these themes come about for these columns, because most of the time it’s unplanned, uncoordinated and they often come out of the blue. It’s going with the flow and not looking back. Sorry if I’m revealing trade secrets and all.

Mostly it starts with a conversation and snowballs from there into something more. Other times it’s a collection gained over the course of a season. This time it goes back to the first point — happenstance.

Brandon Kaylor has become the face of Bonney Lake High wrestling, according to coach Dan Pitsch, and with that comes a lot of responsibilities. On a typical day, nothing is usual with how Kaylor goes about his business.

“I usually wake up around 5 to 5:30 in the morning so I can finish up any homework I have left,” Kaylor said. “From there I go to school and then practice.”

Many athletes have been there; getting out of bed before the crack of dawn to put in some morning work while many of us are hitting the snooze button on our alarms. These individuals do it out of drive, and they do it out of necessity, too.

For someone as driven as Kaylor — an individual who seeks greatness in wrestling — it’s just another day in proving to himself that his quest can be accomplished. That the goals he set for himself aren’t too big to see through.

“From practicing with my team, I leave around 5 p.m. to head out to second practice. I usually have to practices back-to-back every day,” Kaylor added.

For the Panther sophomore, it’s no coincidence his work ethic has led him to a state championship (3A, 106 pounds) and a No. 1 ranking this season. So when the work piles up on him, Kaylor never blinks at the chance to grow.

“My dad (Geoff Kaylor) often gives me homework assignments, too,” Kaylor stated. “He’ll have me watch another wrestler, and ask me what’s great about that person … it’s something I enjoy to do with him.”

By 9 p.m., Kaylor, is exhausted and tired. It’s been a long day, but the night doesn’t bring any comfort — yet. There’s still the most important aspect he has to accomplish in any given day.

“If there’s homework, it means I have a late night,” Kaylor said with a laugh. “I’m usually doing as much as I can, and what I don’t finish, I’ll do in the morning.”

It’s a recycled process for Kaylor. It’s no different than what many other athletes before and after him will accomplish any given day. He understood this path from the very start.

“I get up and do it again the next day,” Kaylor added. “I do this to be there for my team … I have been prepared for this type of work since I was (young). I like keeping busy.”

But for now, Kaylor and the rest of the local athletes can rest this holiday season, recharge and come back next week with a full head of steam.