Athletes Learn Life Lessons

September 2, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Sun Times,CST-SPT-prep02.highschool

If a bus headed to South Dakota drove by Barrington football player Matt Kasik, he'd jump on it in a heartbeat.

Kasik, a senior, has learned not to take things for granted. He realizes there are lots of people in the United States who don't have a fraction of what he has.

Kasik was one of 41 Barrington students who traveled to the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota, a remote part of the state near Fort Thompson where the Dakota Native Americans live. The students were immersed in the Dakota culture for eight days as part of a summer school course.

''You learn to appreciate what you have,'' Kasik said. ''I complain about stupid stuff, like my cell phone [battery] running out, but who cares in terms of what these people have? They won't be able to get jobs, so what am I complaining about?

''The stuff we take for granted is unbelievable. We shouldn't feel sorry for ourselves. We have so much more than they do.''

For the last eight years, Barrington assistant baseball coach and guidance counselor Ray Piagentini has taken students to Crow Creek.