By Sammy G.
“When I was young, I tried everything,” said Coach Michelle Sorise of her childhood sports endeavors. “My older brother liked to play sports, and I wanted to do the things he did.” She pursued swimming, soccer, volleyball, and even cheerleading, but, not surprisingly, South’s current girls’ JV coach found herself with the most success on the basketball court. Making her first shots and first passes in fourth grade, Coach Sorise played throughout middle school, high school, and into college. In college, Coach Sorise played basketball and volleyball while studying abroad in Scotland.
Although a multisport athlete for much of her athletic career, Coach Sorise said her most memorable achievements and experiences were on the basketball court. At the start of high school, Coach Sorise was the only freshman to make the varsity team. During senior year, Coach Sorise set the overall rebounding record at her school, with about 15 boards per game. “My best friend set the scoring record. I suppose she kept shooting . . . and I kept rebounding,” she said.
However, being such an involved athlete came with its consequences.
As an AP student, Sorise admitted it was challenging to keep up with everything: school work, school basketball, league basketball, and her social life. “It was a hard balance,” Coach Sorise said. “Some days I had to take driver’s ed at 5 a.m. and not get a break until about 8 o’clock at night when practices were over.”
Coach Sorise believes that being an athlete takes courage. “As a player of team sports, you have to learn to trust and rely on others,” she said. “There is a bond you create that cannot match the ones I had with my friends that I did not play ball with,” Coach Sorise later explained. Today, she is still in communication with about 75 percent of the people she played with from middle school through college.
Although her relationships with coaches may not have always been the best, Sorise learned she had to “be strong and focus on how to improve her game and help the team without getting caught up in the drama of sports.”
Coach Sorise’s early experiences as an athlete taught her that she had to be strong—both mentally and physically. “You have to learn to show up each day to play hard, to push yourself further than you think you can go, to fight to win even when you are down by a lot, out matched and nothing is going your way.”