Athlete Feature: Emma Chen

Vanessa Valentino, Staff Writer

With approximately 2.2 billion fans, basketball is one of the world’s most popular sports. This is understandable, as it’s exciting and fast-paced, making it fun to watch. From a player standpoint, basketball improves teamwork, endurance, coordination, and discipline. Freshman Emma Chen, the team captain of Arcadia High School’s Freshman-Sophomore Basketball team, detailed her experience with the sport and her current team.

Chen began playing basketball when she was about nine-years-old. At first, she joined because of her friend, and stayed because of her mom’s encouragement. But as time passed, Chen grew to appreciate and enjoy basketball.

“I like the team-building and the bonding part,” Chen said. “You get really close to your team members, which is really nice—it becomes more fun, rather than competitive.”

Like all sports, basketball requires time and discipline, especially during its season in the winter. For Chen, her team had conditioning scheduled Monday through Friday, with each practice being up to two hours long. Excluding the team’s occasional weekend practices, that’s around 10 hours a week: an example of the commitments athletes make. Now, with the season over, Chen practices about once a week, with one session being about two hours long.

During their season, basketball undeniably takes up a lot of Chen’s time. It can be difficult to balance something so time-consuming with other priorities, such as school, but Chen has a very practical approach on time management.

“You have two things you need to accomplish in a day, and you just need to find time,” she said. She added that these two things—school and basketball—often take up the majority of her week, leaving her with little to no leisure time.

During the interview, I was especially curious about Chen’s role and experience as a team captain.

“I try to get my teammates’ feedback, and if they need help during the game, I’ll explain things to them as best as I can… I tell them what to do, almost, so they do rely on me to be set-up and organized,” Chen explained.

As the team captain, there’s definitely an added pressure on the court, from both Chen’s coach and the team.

“If I have any concerns about the team, it’s my responsibility to speak up. It is a lot of pressure, because I have to know what’s going on with the game, so I can tell my team what to do,” said Chen.

Although she doesn’t plan on pursuing basketball professionally, Chen enjoys it as a hobby and believes it’s a great opportunity to exercise, build synergy, and have fun.