Senior Sarah Henry finishes her final high school basketball season and gets ready to play college basketball. Photo by Sandra Genidy.

Features

Join Sarah Henry in the behind-the-scenes of what it’s like being on a team

Henry is a key player on the Fountain Valley High School girls' basketball team.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/fridaynightland/" target="_self">Katie Le</a>

Katie Le

March 15, 2022
What’s the difference between playing and watching a basketball game?

Well, sitting on the bleachers screaming out your favorite player’s name is one thing, but running across the court while dribbling a ball in your hand pushes the excitement from the crowd to make life feel like a cosmos.

Merriam-Webster defines basketball as a usually indoor court game between two teams of usually five players each who score by tossing an inflated ball through a raised goal. Merriam-Webster defines a cosmos as an orderly harmonious systematic universe.

Fountain Valley High School senior Sarah Henry’s high school journey is approaching its deadline. But, her love for basketball is something that will last forever.

Her parents introduced her to the sport at the beginning of childhood. Going to tournaments and playing in Little League was an absolute utopia as a kid. Getting to explore the endless tactics and techniques employed on the court eventually helped her earn the center position on Fountain Valley girls’ varsity basketball.

“I would say that the center is kind of like glue, almost, like they got to get the rebounds out and help the shooters, got to set good screens and just be the everyman to help everybody out on defense,” Henry said. “If the guards get beat, then we’re going to be there to stop them and help people out.”

Developing a level of comfort between people can be taxing. But if you’re spending every day together practicing a sport in accordance with a personal passion, then it may be easier. Luckily for Henry, that’s just the case.

Acting as the “glue” of the team can be applied to each one of the players. Once you’ve passed the awkward phase and entered an inner circle, that freedom of pressure where you don’t have to act differently or try to please them anymore, is what keeps a friendship together.

“I’ve never been on a team that’s just happy to be around one another, really. We are so close and I think that’s, really, one of the reasons why we’ve won [the Sunset Wave] League and have gotten so far because everybody really loves each other. And just coming into this school and knowing, ‘Okay I’ve got my team, even if I don’t have anything else,’ it really helps,” she said.

To Henry, the number 30 is a significant symbol, not only on the court but in her life too. It links back to the day she was born: Sept. 30.

Ever since then, she’s chosen that number to appear on the back of her jersey. Though not until her junior year, when she transferred to Fountain Valley High School, it ineluctably changed to 10. Luckily, this year, she got the chance to revert it to the original number.

As Merriam-Webster reminds us, a cosmos is a harmonious universe. It’s the opposite of chaos. It’s synonymous with peace. It’s well-ordered.

You may ask, how does that tie in with basketball?

According to Henry, it all comes down to her teammates, and more importantly, the crowd. Whether from the bench or the bleachers, there’s nothing more motivating than hearing the chants of people supporting you.

Basketball has taught Henry a thing or two about confidence. Initially, she felt a magnitude of pressure when performing in front of an audience. But eventually, she adapted to that convention and has utilized the crowd’s enthusiasm to build her confidence during games.

Her teammates are also guilty of cheering and yelling “defense” to the players on the court. The phrase gives the team an additional ounce of reassurance to preserve their morale. Regardless of winning or losing, just coming home to a team full of love and joy is already an endless cosmos.

In a few more months, she is off to college, otherwise known as a portal for partying, late-night cramming and more partying. But playing at the next level is a pathway already cemented, and as of right now, she’s figuring out the right school to help pedestal for that future.

“It’s been such a great season, so much growth from everybody. Everybody has gotten so far and just become such great players. It’s so fun watching everybody around you grow while you grow as well,” Henry said.

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