Athlete of the Month: Keys pursues her dreams

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Photo by Photo by Sydney House.

Senior Christian Keys gets ready to pass to her teammate during the varsity girls basketball game against Gardner Edgerton.

“Before each game, I write Philippians 4:13 on my arm. Philippians 4:13 says, ‘I can do all things through him who gives me strength,” senior Christian Keys said.
In most cases, sports are competitive, but for Keys, there’s more to it.
“Whenever I’m on the basketball court and I mess up, it [Philippians] helps me to know that God gave me this talent and that I can do it, so it gives me more confidence when playing,” Keys said.
Originally, basketball wasn’t Keys’ dream, but she finds that it suits her.
“I’ve been playing since I was 11. I started playing because I was tall, and soccer didn’t really work out. My mom wanted me to be a cheerleader, but I was too tall, and it was awkward, so basketball seemed to work the best,” Keys said.
“I usually play power forward because I’m bigger than most guards, but I’m smaller than most posts and I’m good at driving [a basketball],” Keys said.
Though basketball wasn’t originally her first choice, Keys has found a love for the game, allowing her to accomplish much.
“I had a game high of 49 points when I was a freshman on JV, and I’ve won five sportsmanship awards in my lifetime,” Keys said. “My biggest accomplishment was making All-Tournament team. It was an award for the Kansas City-Missouri game we had at Northwest, and they chose four girls. I’m really happy and proud about that time.”
The awards and wins, however, are not the best part of basketball for Keys.
“My favorite part about basketball has to be the mental part. It’s not only fun, but it help control emotions. If you mess up and let it get to you, it can throw you off, so you have to focus on being positive,” Keys said.
Through her positivity while playing the game, Keys has been able to learn and grow spiritually.
“I’ve learned how to trust God [through basketball]. My spirituality is really important. In basketball if you do something bad, you’re negative about it, and it really does shake you up, so I’m always praying to God to help me be more positive. Change my mind and change my heart, whatever happens on court, negative energy doesn’t affect me.”
Key’s teammates notice her positive energy while playing, and attribute her success as a player to this positivity.
“Chris is always really positive. She says ‘hi’ to everyone at practice, and she’s just caring. She’s a really upbeat person, so it’s fun to play basketball with her,” junior Sarah Cokington said. “She always knows what she’s doing and is always in the right place at the right time.”
Varsity girls head coach Ann Fritz also notices Keys’ spirit.
“She has a lot of energy and she’s very vocal and enthusiasitc, which makes her a good team player. Also, a good scorer,” Fritz said.
Being on a team allows Keys to use her enthusiam to help others.
“My favorite part of being on a team is definitely encouraging others. This year I earned the title of team cheerleader. I like making people smile,” Keys said. “When people get upset if they mess up, I can go over and help them get ready for their next play. Not only does it make them feel better, but it also makes you feel good.”
Though Keys is still undecided as to where she wants to go to school next year, basketball is something she wants to continue.
“I actually do [want to play in college]. I’m not really sure where yet. I’m weighing my options, seeing which school will give me something. Really, I’m just waiting on God to tell me where, but I definitely plan to play in college,” Keys said.
For all of her endeavors in basketball, Keys thanks her team the most.
“We have the best chemistry for a team. Everyone is so amazing. Without them I wouldn’t be half the person I am today, so I want to give a huge shout out to them for everything,” Keys said.