For the second installment of our “Spotlight on Athletes” series, we interviewed Nafis Muhammad, a talented multi-sport athlete living in Los Angeles, California. Nafis has been running track for many years (4 competitively), and football for 3 years. This, his junior year, is his first at the OHS. Here’s what he had to say:
Why do you play sports?
I play sports because they are fun and relieve stress, but primarily because I have a competitive mindset and I believe that my mind should match my body in ability. Also my mom ran track and lettered in the sport, and my grandfather from Puerto Rico also did, so when I’m running it’s like being close to them. I see it as a part of who I am.
Which sport do you find most meaningful, football or track? Why?
Track is definitely the most meaningful sport to me. Football is amazing and extremely fun. The ups and downs, especially as a quarterback, are like no other sport, and yet track has so much more. For one track has a greater necessity for the individual to put in more effort for the team, and therefore it builds a closer bond. As the individual is strained, he/she looks to his team for support, and being the support/being supported is extremely valuable in sports.
What are your training and playing schedules typically like? How do they fit in with your OHS classes?
Fortunately, OHS has a very flexible schedule and most of my classes work around my practices. During football season all my games were on Fridays, and practices were at night so I was able to attend most of them. Coaches aren’t happy when I have to let them know I have to miss for school, but I have coaches in both sports who understand grades come first. In track, practice is a lot easier and shorter, and I can do it solo if need be, so there is always time to work it in elsewhere if I miss.
Who are some of your athletic role models?
I choose role models from the sports I play, so my two would be Usain Bolt and Russel Wilson. Bolt because he’s the fastest and, in track, being as fast as possible is my goal. Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks because he is a great leader, inspirational, and a great athlete. His teammates look up to him because of his extreme focus and ability to overcome adversity for the team.
What do you hope to achieve within football and track?
Football being such a dangerous sport, I would not attempt to play in a national or colligate league. It is mostly just for fun because I fell in love with the sport. For track, my goal is to join a colligate team when I move on to college, because I am confident I can meet that challenge, as well as excited to see myself do it.
Describe your proudest moment as an athlete.
My proudest moments as an athlete were when I was made a captain of my track team (because it was a huge honor), when I cut my record mile time down to just over 5 minutes and my 400m time down to 45 secs, and in football when I caught my first touchdown pass. All were amazing feelings because they validate self-ability and you understand that all the practice and pain allowed that moment to happen.
What else do you enjoy doing when you aren’t busy with school or tennis?
I have several hobbies and other extracurriculars that I participate in outside of school and sports. I also spend a lot of time volunteering with FEMA and Long Beach Search and Rescue in the community. Some of my hobbies include graphic design, sketching, and writing. I also enjoy playing piano, listening to music, repelling, and hiking in my leisure time.
Thanks for sharing, Nafis! Looking forward to seeing what you accomplish in the future!
Do you want to be featured in the next Spotlight? Know an athlete who would like to be interviewed? Contact Bassel El-Rewini by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by Skype (bassel.rewini).