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The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

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Two-sport star loves to compete but says building friendships supersedes final score

Be it basketball or track and field, senior stalwart Esme Barraz strives to be the consummate teammate
Lillian Gray
Junior small forward Esme Barraz cuts down the net after the Knights completed their perfect district season with a victory over the Ann Richards Stars at home on Feb. 7.

Athletics and sports are a significant part of many people’s lives and childhoods. Playing in front yards with friends on summer mornings, participating in rec leagues, and practicing with parents. Football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc.

Most people pick one.

But not Esme Barraz.

Track and basketball, are both major and equal parts of her life.

The many differences between track and basketball could push many people away from wanting to participate in both. While basketball is a team sport that relies on communication and teamwork, track and field is mainly an individual sport that depends on self-determination.

For Esme, these differences make the sports that much more interesting and special.

“It’s nice to be involved in multiple things and not to put all your eggs in one basket.”

After winning a team district championship in girls basketball in February, Esme Barraz was front and center last April on a second district championship team: girls track. Even though she was stellar—winning two individual events and placing second in another to go along with a silver and a gold in team relays—she says its her relationship with her teammates, not all the bling, that makes athletics worthwhile. Photo by Lillian Gray.

She plays basketball in the fall and begins track and field shortly after the season ends.

She’s spent hours upon hours of time after school practicing. Spent weekends at track meets and basketball tournaments. Spent plenty of weeknights at late-night basketball games. Spent many summer days training. Spent her Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. basketball practice. Spent years and years doing what she loves.

But for Esme, the sports themselves aren’t what keep her attached.

It’s the people.

Her teammates and friends who support and care for her. Her track teammates who are always at the finish line waiting to give her a high five and her basketball teammates who cheer for her on the bench and on the court.

Her teammates who pump her up in locker rooms and on bus rides, who give her words of encouragement and wisdom, who keep her enjoyment high even when under pressure or stress. It’s the people that continue to encourage her to reach new heights no matter how difficult. 

Editor’s note: The digital media students wrote 300-word stories that emulated the feature profiles written by Brady Dennis for the St. Petersburg Times in the mid-2000s. Shield co-editor in chief Alice Scott prepared a master class on Dennis’ stories for the newspaper staff, and adviser Dave Winter was so impressed with the lesson that he changed his feature profile assignment based on what Scott taught the staff about Dennis’ stories. As a result, we have a collection of wonderful short profiles—including this profile of basketball and track star Esme Barraz—that are well-crafted, powerful and straight from the heart.

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    Sue MastersJul 28, 2023 at 11:58 am

    Love this young lady!!!!! Nailed it about your teammates from both sports. Thrive Esme!!!!!!!! Have a great year as you all are gearing up. God Bless each and everyone of you all! Go Knights?