Sports Meets Smarts With Skinner

May 15, 2015


Jelyse Swanson

Senior Sydney Skinner

Her skyrocketing success dominating the basketball court has left some people in awe. Win after win and article after article, with headlines regarding her flawless leadership, leave readers begging the question: what will she do next?

As captain of the girls varsity basketball team, there is a lot that is expected of senior Sydney Skinner. The team looks to her for game plans, and she must think quickly in order to follow through with the course of action.

“I started [playing basketball] when I was five years old on the Gator Girls Plano Sports Authority team,” Skinner said. “I was involved in numerous sports, so basketball was just another thing at the time to keep me moving and involved in something.”

Throughout her life, it was crystal clear that her obvious love and dedication for the game has never wavered. And as she grew up, her devotion to basketball could only grow stronger.

“Even at an early age, I knew basketball was different in my eyes than all the other sports I played,” Skinner said. “I had a passion and love for the game. It also helped that I wasn’t half bad. So I wanted to stick with it and make my own personal game the best it could be.”

Not only is Skinner a highly-successful varsity captain, she is a dedicated AP and honors student, which is shown through her decision to attend the university of her choice.

“I’ll be attending Harvard University in the fall,” Skinner said. “I chose this school not only based on an athletic perspective, but of course, an academic one.”

After meeting with the coaches and the team, Skinner consulted with her family and concluded that going “crimson” was the only way to go.

“It seemed like the perfect fit,” Skinner said. “It would provide so many outlets and opportunities for me during my four years there and after I graduate. It’s one of the most prestigious academic schools in the nation, so who wouldn’t want to go there?”

It seems as if basketball is truly Skinner’s life, and according to her, this notion is true.

“[Outside of school, I] mostly play basketball, to be honest,” Skinner said. “But just like any other kid I simply like to have a good time, regardless of what I’m doing, as long as it’s surrounded by the people I love.”

She proudly admits that most of her time spent is with the Lady Wolves, and it is through this sport that they have become not just a basketball team but a real family.

“Teamwork is so much more valuable than self-acknowledgment,” Skinner said. “It takes every person on the team to function properly. There’s no one person that can make up an entire system and make it work.”

Skinner knows that being on a team means that all members are working toward one common goal, and it is vital that each girl must look out for the other.

“You not only work hard for yourself but the people who are holding you accountable,” Skinner said. “You no longer want to win and succeed for yourself but for the team as a whole.”

When reflecting back over her years as a Lady Wolf, Skinner cites her favorite “team” moment was not even on the court, but at the senior banquet while hearing the celebratory words of varsity coach Kristen Perry.

“Without a doubt, she’s the only coach that I’ve had this strong of a relationship with,” Skinner said. “While she was speaking she began to cry, thus making me cry. That moment encompassed my entire high school career because it showed that playing ball was so much more than a sport.”

Playing on a team not only brings opportunities like college to knock on her door, but it brings people and relationships as well.

“The relationships I made, the bonds that were formed and the memories made can never be replaced or forgotten,” Skinner said. “My team is my family, and they’ve had the biggest impact in my life.”

Like all people, Skinner’s support system begins with her immediate family. Being the youngest child, Skinner looks to her three older siblings, Landon (26), Alexandra (23) and Elliott (20), for guidance. It is from her siblings that she draws most of her inspiration.

“My oldest brother Landon is definitely my role model,” Skinner said. “He’s been by my side supporting me, along with my other family members. But he went through the same struggles as me—playing ball all his life and trying to make it to the next level, which he did.”

Landon played basketball all throughout his years at Judson University in Illinois and is now working for Teach For America, a national teacher corps focused on bringing achievement to public schools.

“So he’s done it: played college ball and left to join the real world and become something,” Skinner said. “And I want to follow in his footsteps.”

Throughout her climb from a young girl to a prosperous basketball player, Skinner has learned many valuable lessons.

“No dream is too big,” Skinner said. “Prove those who doubt you wrong. Even when it gets tough, remember it will get better.”

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