Student of the game earns BEHS Peacock scholarship
Attitude and the willingness to learn—even from adversity—is what earned a top multi-sport athlete from Box Elder High School this year’s Laney Lynn Peacock Scholarship.
Sydney Uyematsu, who earned multiple letters in soccer (four), basketball (one) and golf (two), and was a soccer team captain, certainly had the athletic credentials to qualify for the scholarship honoring a highly successful and inspirational Box Elder High School student-athlete.
But perhaps more than an athlete, she was a student. Even on the court or the field or the golf course, she was learning.
According to Uyematsu, as soccer team captain, she learned to “communicate, encourage and build players up on and off the field.” She learned the consequences of positive or negative atmospheres and the importance of keeping a positive attitude.
In basketball, Uyematsu learned how to give up a little control and trust and rely on her teammates, as much as they could trust and rely on her. In golf, she learned that even though it’s an individual sport, her own practice and dedication could have significant impacts on everyone around her; that a person needs to be a dependable individual if they hope to improve the team. And, she was able to gain a deep and long-lasting understanding of the universal truth that whatever a person or team puts in to a thing, is what they get out.
“Sports have taught me more than I ever knew was possible,” Uyematsu said. “Some of my best and worst moments have happened during my athletics.”
Uyematsu then related her experience playing soccer in the 4A state semi-final game last fall, in which she suffered a torn ACL. Facing a long recovery through the rest of the school year tested her attitude.
“It was the most mentally and physically challenging thing I’ve ever gone through,” said Uyematsu.
She said she learned how to persevere through the unpredictability of life. She learned that when life doesn’t go according to plan and a person might feel like they have every reason to be mad at the world, that attitude “will get you no where.”
“I learned that I was strong enough mentally and physically to overcome life’s setbacks,” Uyematsu said. “I am still not 100 percent healthy, and that’s hard, but hard work has gotten me where I am and I know that I will be healthy soon.”
She said that the experience, and how she has navigated the challenges that accompanied it, has developed an important attribute for future success.
“I learned to look at adversity as a lesson, and I know that my attitude determines what I get out of it.”
In addition to being a successful athlete and inspirational leader, the scholarship requires applicants to display Peacock’s spirit of service. To that end, Uyematsu noted her volunteer hours with junior soccer programs, and at elementary schools and retirement homes.
Uyematsu said her goals are to further her education doing something she enjoys, and plans to attend New Horizons Beauty College.