Friends compete as athletic rivals


Kernal defends Derby’s Aliyah Myers during the home game Jan. 10. Newton won 41-32.

When fans feel the animosity from opposing teams coming out of the locker room, they rarely consider the possibility of a rival athlete’s friendship. For Sophomore DesiRay Kernal and Junior Izzy Saenz, competing against friends instead of with them is quite common during school seasons.

“It’s kind of awkward [playing my teammates] but since we’re friends we just have to get over it and we’ll talk about the game afterwards. We definitely trash talk before the game and after,” Kernal said.

Both the girls have several close friends from other schools but a few girls they hang out with outside of club practices.

“I’ve meet some really great friends through [soccer]. I think there’s some that will remain life long like Elizabeth [Palmer from Maize] and Brooklyn [Entz] but others are just right now friends and that’s okay too,” Saenz said.

Playing friends from club sports can come in handy during school ball, when teammates become enemies.

“If we are playing Derby I tell my coach what Tor’E (Alford) and Kennedy (Brown)’s plays are and how to stop them. Since they are my friends, they know how I play. I don’t wanna take it easy on them and they don’t wanna take it easy on me so we play our hardest,” Kernal said.

Both athletes play their sport year round. Saenz plays school soccer in the spring followed by summer and fall club soccer, and Kernel plays high school basketball during winter and club basketball during the summer and fall months.

“In club ball, you learn what you need to do if you want to play in college and like classes you need to take, how important grades are, and you just build those really close relationships with other people that play. I feel like [in] club you can get closer with the team but club is kind of all for yourself and you wanna get better and get more skilled. High school ball is more team basketball than yourself basketball [so I like it better],” Kernal said.

At the end of the day, a game is a game and remaining friends during competition is never an issue.

“[After a hard loss] you are upset but not too badly because I’m happy for them if they win and they’re happy for us if we win,” Saenz said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email