Keeping the tradition that I began more than a decade ago, I am using the next eight weeks of summer to feature the thoughts of some of next year's elite high school senior athletes on a variety of subjects.

Keeping the tradition that I began more than a decade ago, I am using the next eight weeks of summer to feature the thoughts of some of next year's elite high school senior athletes on a variety of subjects.

Topics will include how to handle adversity, the development of self-confidence, the importance of sportsmanship and the heroes these young athletes strive to be like.

To begin the series each student will relate what sports has done for them to help them develop into the outstanding young people that they are today.

Shardai Morrison-Fountain (Africentric girls basketball): "It is all about maturity. Sports are my life, and I wouldn't be where I am today without them. Sports have changed my life and matured me into the young lady I am now."

Phillip Diaz (Watterson boys tennis): "Sports have made me a more patient individual. If I miss a ball in tennis, I have to stay calm and work until I succeed the next time. This also applies to everything I do outside of tennis."

Alissa Birkhimer (Lakewood softball): "Sports have allowed me to work in a team environment where I learn to give and take in a group atmosphere. This allows me to assist and receive assistance from my teammates. This allows us to achieve more than as individuals."

Darcy Fishback (Upper Arlington girls swimming): "Sports have taught me self-discipline and patience. You really have to work hard to get better and results aren't always immediate. I have also had to master time-management skills because of sports."

Aaron Siekmann (Dublin Jerome boys golf): "Being involved in sports has allowed me to learn values such as integrity, self-discipline and hard work. I have been able to use sports as a way to better myself as a person, both physically an mentally. Day in and day out, I am forced to balance my time, make positive decisions and overcome challenges."

Zach Boren (Pickerington Central football): "Sports have made me a better person by giving me self-confidence, making me stand out in the community as a role model, and have helped out my decision-making in life."

Rufus Walls (Hartley track): "Sports has helped to develop me and make me a stronger person. It has helped me strive for higher standards athletically, academically and spiritually and sports help me push myself as hard as I can."

Jamie Wood (Pickerington Central football): "Sports have boosted my social, physical and mental state of being tremendously. I have learned to be confident in myself and to involve others in a team effort."

Kate Turvy (Dublin Coffman girls tennis): "Sports, specifically tennis, have shaped my personality. Tennis is my passion, but it has helped me realize that dedication and excitement will bring success and happiness in anything I want to achieve."

Next week the athletes will talk about balancing academics and athletics in their busy world.

I'll see you at a game.