Player Spotlight – Sara Moring
Oak Hill High School; Wales, Maine
Sara is a shooting guard who is in her third year starting for her program’s varsity team. She started her sophomore year due to injury to a senior and has never let go of the position. Sara brings a tremendous amount of energy to her team. She has a relentless attitude. Sara’s desire to succeed extends outward to all her teammates.
What has helped you develop the leadership mindset you have today?
My leadership mindset took time to be where it is today. As a freshman, I focused on the skills and game of basketball. At first, I was concerned about making friends and I wanted to fit in with the crowd. As a sophomore, I was a bit more comfortable knowing what to expect but being a young varsity player was intimidating. The seniors on the team were the captains and I sat back watching them. I watched and learned from them because I knew someday I wanted to be a captain. Going into my junior year my biggest struggle was my attitude on and off the court and my depression. I told myself that I needed to work very hard to be the best player and leader for my team and myself. I worked really hard with my family through counseling and with my doctor. I knew that in order for me to become the best teammate I had to take care of myself first. My junior year was the year that I stepped up into being more of a leader. I felt more confident and knew that the work I had done on myself was leading me in the right direction. My head was in a better place and I wanted my last two years to be the best. In my junior year went out of my way to support my teammates on and off the court. I was still working on myself and I was a better player and leader for my team. This year my main goal has been to focus more on my teammates and my team. I want to show the underclassmen what leadership is all about ~ putting the team first. My coaches, teammates, friends and family have taught me what the meaning of a true leader is and I want to pass that on. I have learned that you must change yourself in order to make a change in others, that we have control of our behaviors and we must be responsible for our actions but most importantly, we must put our family/team first.
How do you think improving as a leader has helped you become a better athlete?
When I think about which part of myself that I worked the hardest on, I would say it was my attitude. I did not have a good attitude sometimes and my depression was really bad. When I struggled with my depression I was not a good teammate and I was negative. Most of the time my attitude/depression showed on the court. When I made the decision to get help, things changed for me. Taking that first step was really hard and I was scared what everybody would think but I did it. After that, I had more energy on the court and I was able to give more back to my team. My personal growth helped me become a better player and a better leader. I think a leader recognizes when they need help, a leader takes the steps to get the help they need and a true leader is there to help others when needed.
How do you think improving as a leader has helped your team?
Improving as a leader has helped my team because I have become someone they can turn to no matter what. It is important to me that my teammates know that I am there for them. As a leader I am there to support, encourage, listen, and give advice when needed. I am there as their friend to talk to about school, homework, or whatever they need. I think I have helped my teammates realize that we trust and love each other even when we make mistakes. One of the biggest lessons we can learn is that no matter what mistakes we make: we own them, we learn from them and we grow from them. As a team we have grown the most when we have had big struggles. When we struggle we tackle the problem together and we never lay blame or point the finger. In my leadership role I have stepped up and pointed out the positives and helped the team grow when we have made mistakes. A true leader builds their team up even when things are tough.
Was there a moment where you recall “turning the corner” and realizing you had to take the next step as a leader?
During my sophomore year I broke my foot outside of basketball season. This was hard because I went from starting varsity to sitting the bench for half my season. I realized at this point that if I couldn’t make a difference on the court then I was going to have to step it up on the sidelines. I had to turn the corner” and be positive even if I couldn’t play. I was going to have to be that obnoxious player that cheers every second of every game. I wanted my team to know that no matter what, I was going to be there every step of the way even if I was not on the court. A lot of the times I felt discouraged but I was not going to let that interfere with me supporting my team.
Another time I was really rude with one of my coaches and I knew it was wrong. I thought about it and knew I had to be a true leader. So, I talked about it in a team meeting and apologized in front of everyone. In the past I would not have done that because I did not have a good attitude. I remember hearing that a leader admits the wrong, apologizes and learns from it. As hard as this type of lesson is I felt like it was the right thing to do as a leader.
What do you do differently now that you may not have done in the past as a leader?
In the past if I saw my teammate struggling I would let them have their space. In the past I may have even waited and let the coaches talk to them. Now I see things differently: I make a point to go out of my way and make sure my teammates are doing okay. If I see my teammate struggling and we have a split second to talk on the court, run over make sure they are alright. I always make sure to follow up with my teammates if I notice they are having a tough day. I find them in the hallway, locker room or text them and check in to see what I can do to help. I include the underclassmen in stuff we do because I want us to all be one family. I want my teammates to know that mistakes are allowed and that is how we grow as a team.
My favorite quote to share is: — “everyone makes mistakes it is how you learn from those mistakes and how you get back on your feet that really matters.”
Sara’s mother on the transformation she’s witnessed within her daughter:
The definition of leadership is, “the act of leading a group of people by establishing a clear vision, sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly and obtain the common goal of the group.” In a team sport such as basketball the common goal is to have a great time while achieving success by way of winning games. As Sara’s mom I have had the opportunity to see her play with her team at Oak Hill High School over the past 4 years. Her athletic ability has grown but her ability to define herself as a leader has soared. She has demonstrated the essence of leadership and growth. She consistently puts the team ahead of herself and her positivity has a trickling effect most evident in her role modeling with underclassmen. She is highly respected in the community as she constantly raises others and accepts what is best for her team. She raises the bar and expectations with a heart of compassion, while consistently being a role model as a captain. She has battled for years with depression but she has not let that define her. She has been taking steps to constantly work on herself, work through her depression and mentor those around her with similar battles. She is a shining example of what hard work is all about. She strives to motivate her team even when her motivation is slim to none. Her growth over the past 3 years has earned her great respect within the community.
She worked hard on herself to be a better teammate and leader. Sara is not the top scorer on the team but her ability to lead her team is what stands out the most. She is recognized for her integrity, honesty, positivity and her ability to see the best in every situation. Sara has the kindest heart and extends that kindness to her teammates and others. She concerns herself with the wellbeing of others and will reach out when she knows someone is hurting. She has become a mentor and confident to those with depression and has assisted others to get the help needed to battle mental illness. As she has grown into her role I have seen her exemplify what leadership is all about: “placing others ahead of yourself, while mentoring those around you with a heart of compassion”. Sara is the definition of a true leader.
Coach Mike Labonte on Sara Moring:
Sara has grown tremendously as a player, individual, teammate and leader in the 3 years that I have been here at Oak Hill High School. She always has bubbly attitude which is contagious to our team. Last year, there was an incident between her and my assistant coach where she got a little lippy and out of line. The very next day, she apologized and owned up to her mistake. A few days later, she talked about the incident in front of the whole team, a visiting college coach and a few of his players. Once again took accountability for that misjudgement. That was the beginning of where my opinion of her leadership qualities took a different turn. This year, her senior year, and with the Lead ‘Em Up exercises, she even stepped up her game of leadership even more. Just this week, she was one of our main leaders in “saying their goodbyes.” She has become a leader that I depend on, and trust with our team decisions. I, and our Lady Raiders are going to miss her greatly!
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