Student Spotlight: Brooke Ryback

Athletes are just human after all

Loren De Los Santos '21

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One day, you are working hard on multiple assignments at school. Just a few hours later, you are leading one of your school’s sports teams or clubs to success.

At OLP, we constantly hear about the achievements made by our fellow athletes. Despite our athletes’ accomplishments and infinite talent, they have their bad days, overwhelming amounts of homework, and stress that comes from pressure and expectations. Sometimes, we put our student-athletes on a pedestal and forget that they are just like us; they still have academic priorities, they make mistakes, and find themselves in rough patches.

Brooke Ryback, a sophomore at OLP in varsity golf, has accomplished an ongoing list of achievements during her time here. Due to her amazing skill, Ryback has been invited to compete in golf tournaments outside of OLP and has found success in every event. With all the attention that comes her way, it is inevitable for Brooke to feel pressured to live up to expectations that have been set on her. “I still feel pressured into having to make my parents proud,” she said. “There would be tournaments where I would play badly and then I would be so upset.” But, over time, Brooke has found ways to deal with the pressure and remember that golf is what she truly loves to do. Brooke told me that she focuses on “[playing] for fun, and that’s the whole reason that [she plays]. [She knows] that if [she] wasn’t enjoying it, then what’s the point?”

Ryback accredits study hall as her way to balance her athletic and academic life. “Study hall has helped me so much. That’s definitely something that I want to keep year-round,” she said. Study hall has helped many student-athletes like Brooke to complete schoolwork during the day. Brooke’s teammates on the varsity golf team have helped her with improving her self-confidence and mentality not only as a golf player but as a person. “I think they’ve definitely taught me to have more confidence in myself. They help put the joy back into it because I can get really stressed about things like college.” Just like the rest of us at OLP, she always thinks about what the future holds. “I really want to get into a golf program and get a scholarship. At the same time, I have to deal with [my academic priorities]. Sometimes, it can be really stressful. So, [my teammates] make me laugh, [feel appreciated], and remind me, ‘You’re here for fun.’”

Even though Brooke is very familiar with the spotlight and success, she is just like the majority of us at OLP—a teenager that experiences trials in self-confidence and has trouble in balancing her passions and her academics. But, with motivation coming from her peers, her supporters, and her love for golf, she manages to enjoy her life playing the sport she calls her passion.