In the last three years, Terry Williams has had about six weeks of free time. And he likes it that way.
When the 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior at Sidwell Friends isn't playing varsity football, basketball or baseball, he's preparing for one of them. And when the school year is over, Williams attends a sports camp or plays in a summer basketball league. Three-sport athletes are disappearing in high school because so many students are into specialization these days. Not Williams.
"I enjoy playing all of the sports. Of course, it doesn't leave me with much time for myself but I don't care because sports is my No. 1 hobby," said Williams. "My mother wants me to play baseball, I guess because it's safer. I'm not partial to any of them. I'm a season person."
Williams is talented enough to earn a college scholarship in all three sports he plays. His best sport may be baseball and several scouts have shown interest in the senior's fast ball and sweeping curve ball. He has pitched back-to-back no-hitters and had 224 strikeouts in 132 innings.
On the basketball court, he's a fine ball-handling guard with a 10-point scoring average. But don't ask Williams to talk about the velocity on his fast ball or his 16-footer. Right now, he's concerned about the Quakers' immediate football future.
Friends, 2-2 following straight losses to IAC foes Episcopal and Georgetown Prep, could use more players like Williams. The leading tackler in the conference last year, Williams, a linebacker, and Coach Gary Blackman were a bit disappointed the senior was left off the all-IAC team.
"I guess they went with all seniors," said Williams, who has recovered fully from arthroscopic knee surgery this summer and is leading his team in tackles again. "I'd like to make it this year. Actually, my goal is to make all-IAC in all three sports. Right now, I just want to help the team in any way I can."
Because his school doesn't have the number of students a larger public school may bave, Williams also plays tailback, where he averages 4.5 yards per carry.
"Terry is just a superb athlete," Blackman said. "He's an outstanding linebacker and is a scoring threat each time he carries the ball."
Eddie Saah, the head coach in both basketball and baseball, said Williams is unquestionably the best three-sport star to come out of the IAC in years.
"I think baseball is his best sport, but he can do everything," Saah said. "He works hard and is always there. He is a great game player."
Williams attended Deal Junior High School, but decided to attend Friends instead of following his friends to nearby Wilson.
"I just felt I wouldn't have concentrated fully on my studies had I gone to Wilson," he said. "I also wanted to go to a school where I could contribute athletically. I had bad study habits in junior high school and really had to struggle when I went to Friends. I knew it would be hard on me but I slowly adjusted. I had to change a lot of my habits."
As a ninth-grader, Williams played varsity baseball, junior varsity football and freshmen basketball. He says once he got into the routine at Friends, finding time to study and participate in all three sports became relatively easy.
"I wasn't getting all As, but I was doing okay," he said. "I'm a pretty good student."
The youngest of three children, Williams says his ideal performance on the football field would include 20 tackles, a few touchdowns and an interception here and there. He hasn't been far from achieving that goal.
"I'm not out to set any football records here. I just want to play the best I can," he said. "We want to win as many games as we can."
When football season ends, Williams has to work extra hard on his timing to make up for the two-to-three weeks of missed basketball practice. "The legs, you have to work on the legs," he said. "But I've done it so long, I've gotten used to the overlapping. I gradually slip into the other sport."
But when basketball season ends, he has about a one-week grace period before baseball season begins. In addition, he has another advantage.
"Coach Saah coaches both sports so I don't have to worry about missing anything," Williams said. "The team can't practice without him. And I'm right there with him."