AA Senior Zumar S. Delivers Chapel Talk
2018, February 26 – Injuries are a risk factor for every athlete. “It’s important to know that whenever you step on the court or field, you always run the risk of getting hurt,” said Zumar S. in his Chapel Talk, delivered on February 23. Zumar has suffered more injuries than most athletes his age. However, he has persevered through each recovery and maintains a positive attitude. “It is important to forget the past and have fun doing what you love.”
Zumar’s love of sports began at an early age. He played soccer, volleyball, track and field, and basketball, beginning in middle school. After breaking his patella in eighth grade, Zumar said that he took time to consider which sport to pursue. “It was a difficult decision, but I decided to focus on basketball,” Zumar said.
After his knee healed, Zumar began working to improve in basketball. He played AAU and practiced drills and shooting. Then, just before his freshman year, Zumar suffered a stress fracture and tried to keep playing. “This turned out to be a very bad idea,” he said. “My recovery time was longer, and I didn’t even make the team.” Over the summer, he suffered yet another injury when he fractured his wrist during the AAU season. “I could no longer shoot for a couple of months and had to learn to shoot again,” he said.
During his sophomore year, he tried out and made the team. However, Zumar said that the experience became increasingly frustrating as he “sometimes struggled to get along with teammates and could never see eye-to-eye with the coaches.” He thought about finding a new school and admitted that he “started to lack confidence.”
Just before his junior year began, Zumar was injured again, fracturing his back in a game. He faced a six-month recovery that would mean losing another season of basketball. “This was the biggest setback for me,” Zumar said. “I had to wear a back brace that was very uncomfortable.” Despite his painful recovery, Zumar said that he tried to remain positive and focused on his school work. “It was [also] a good excuse to get out of chores,” he joked.
Even though he was able to join the team at the end of the season, Zumar realized that “if I didn’t make a change soon, I would probably never play at the next level.” He made the decision to transfer to Amelia Academy.
“I had more fun and made more progress in a year-and-a-half [at the Academy] than I did in three years at my old school,” he said. Zumar expressed his appreciation to his parents for their support. “My Dad works overnight, but this never stopped him from taking me to practices and coming to all my games,” he said. Of his Mom he said that she is “very passionate and has always tried to motivate me.”
The healing process took a long time, both from physical injuries and other setbacks. “Starting over is difficult,” said Zumar, “but your family will help you through it.” It has been hard to get past the fear of becoming injured again. However, Zumar found that he became stronger, both mentally and physically, as he learned to overcome the fear and continue playing the sport he loves.
Since arriving at the Academy, Zumar has excelled as a member of the varsity basketball team. He has won several post-season accolades including being named first team all-conference in the Virginia Colonial Conference (VCC) this year. He also made the all-tournament teams for the past two seasons. As a member of the Academy’s cross country team last fall, Zumar won all the races in which he competed and earned runner of the year status for the VCC.
Attending his chapel talk were his parents, Zurina and Mike S., and his sister, Zukye S. Also among the special guests were teammates Kameron F., Aeron M., and William S.
Guests and members of the senior class attended a reception following the chapel talk program.