Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Fernley senior Carson Kingston was the recipient of the 2022 National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association/Essay Award for Nevada, which was presented to him while he and the Fernley boys basketball team was in Las Vegas for the State Basketball Tournament. Kingston read his speech in front of all the Nevada Athletic Directors at their annual meeting.
As a state winner, Kingston received a plaque recognizing him as state winner and a check for $500. Section winners each receive a $1,500 scholarship and a plaque recognizing them as section winners and national winners each receive a $2,500 scholarship and a glass etching recognizing them as national winner.
Kingston wrote his essay about how athletics has impacted him throughout his high school career and what he has gained from all these experiences.
Kingston, who played football and basketball, said sports taught him to become a leader on and off the court and field.
He wrote about going out for football as a freshman although he had never played before. He also recounted being brought up to the varsity football team as a sophomore, and described the bond that helped that team develop into a state championship team. After the state championship game, the team bus was escorted into town by police and fire vehicles, with people lined up along the streets to welcome them home.
Kingston wrote that basketball was his favorite sport to play, and how he was asked to be a leader even when he made the varsity as a freshman.
The full text of Kingston’s essay is below:
“HOW HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS HAS IMPACTED MY LIFE.”
Athletics has been a part of my life ever since I could walk. Growing up with my dad as a coach and being able to be a spectator to then becoming a player has been an incredible experience. Going into my freshman year I knew I wanted to play football because it would keep me in shape for basketball and help with further development of my strength, footwork, and everything else that goes into becoming a better athlete. I was nervous due to the fact I really had never played football and only watched it. Summer conditioning came and it hit hard. I was surrounded by older and better players. I used that as motivation. With every hit taken and every yard ran, I could feel myself improving. I made it through my freshman year; my sophomore year I was brought up to varsity. I knew then I had something to prove. It wasn’t to show I was better, but to motivate others to become the best athlete they could. As a team we made sure to do things with each other outside of football. From team dinners to just hanging out, we developed a really special bond. This bond helped us the most on the field. Being able to trust your team makes you unstoppable. We made it to the playoffs and then to the state game. The atmosphere that night was something words would not be able to describe. Just know, it was exhilarating. We went onto win that night. Everyone rushing the field, the flashes of multiple cameras, and the outpour of love is something I will never forget. We had planned to ride the bus home as a team no matter if we won or lost and that is what we did. We were escorted by the police and fire department when we came into town and people were lined up and down the street cheering for us. Being in a community like this is what makes all of the hard work worth it.
I have played travel basketball since 4th grade. My parents drove me and my two older sisters into Reno 4 nights a week until we could drive ourselves. Basketball has been my favorite sport of all the things I have played. I put in a lot of time on my own to better my skills and game. I made varsity my freshmen year, and was told I would need to be a leader on the court. That was intimidating because I wasn’t sure if the older players would listen to me. Travel ball definitely helped in this area, it helped me be confident in myself and my skills and the knowledge of the game. Something I started to do was put together pick up games on Sundays to anyone who wanted to come out and play ball (even if you were not on the team). We had a lot of people come out and it was great to have that different challenge of all levels of players. At this stage in my high school sports I was becoming more comfortable leading and helping my teammates in any way that I could. Being loyal and committed is probably one of the biggest things that I have learned in my high school athletics career. At the end of my sophomore year COVD hit and what a ride it has been. I feel like I succeeded in this time in my life because I had sports, teammates, and coaches who still encouraged us to keep going. My basketball season junior year was completely cancelled, it was hard at first but my coaches still had practices and that helped us keep our mind and spirits up. I know at this time a lot of my classmates were having a hard time physically and mentally. I was lucky to have people around me who kept me busy and keep a positive attitude. As I am finishing out my senior year of football and basketball I look back on all the highlights that I have had and I am just grateful I have family, coaches, teammates, and a community that has supported me. High School Athletics has impacted me in so many ways from learning to be a leader on and off the court/field, and to never underestimate what others can bring to the team and the impact it will have on me.