High school athletes are pulled in many directions these days. It’s not just the usual tug-of-war between practice and homework, or playing sports versus having a social life.
By Mitch Silver
High school athletes are pulled in many directions these days. It’s not just the usual tug-of-war between practice and homework, or playing sports versus having a social life. There’s also the pressure on two-sport superstars to pick one and play it all year round. Madeline Eck is proof that you can become a standout varsity player without going the academy route.
In fact, the Rye Athletic Department and the Rye Lions Club have jointly named Maddie Athlete of the Month in her “second” sport: soccer. The Amherst-bound goalkeeper was nominated for the coveted award by her coach, Rich Savage.
“Maddie’s been a four-year starter for the Garnets,” he said. “She’s an outstanding leader as a captain. As a goalie, she gives the entire team confidence whenever she’s in the net.
“She has cat-like reactions, and continuously shocks players, coaches, and officials with her unbelievable saves. Not only that, her distribution out of the back is amazing. Maddie can either find the open player and feed her the ball or punt it to start a dangerous counterattack.”
The honoree was, characteristically, modest about being named Rye High’s first monthly winner. An All-New York State basketball player for the Garnets who was chosen to participate in the U.S. Junior Nationals after last season, Maddie seemed surprised to be named for soccer.
“I’m flattered that my school and the Lions Club chose me. When I think of all the great athletes who’ve been given this award, it’s really humbling.”
A member of the National Honor Society and a National Merit Commended Student, Maddie has taken an armload of Advanced Placement courses from History to Calculus to Spanish. Her favorite subject?
“I’d have to say it’s English Literature. Already this year I’ve read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for class, and ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ on my own. I also love survival stories, like ‘Into Thin Air’ by Jon Krakauer. If I had an afternoon in the city with nothing to do, I’d probably take a book to Central Park and spend the day reading.”
Yes, but where will she get the time? When Maddie’s not studying or playing soccer and basketball, she’s volunteering at Port Chester elementary schools, serving hot meals through the auspices of Food to Grow On. Or she’s organizing donated clothes for the Sharing Shelf Foundation.
One thing is definite: come June, Madeline Eck will join the other Athlete of the Month winners for a year-end dinner at The Osborn, when Rye High’s Athlete of the Year will be announced.
—Photo By Melanie Cane