Osbourn senior Matt Krawczyk might not have played as much tennis as many of the other seven quarterfinalists bound for the Virginia AAA boys' singles tournament this weekend in Newport News.
Then again, many of his peers might not have played as much golf or hockey as he has.
Golf in the fall, hockey in the winter and tennis in the spring -- it's been that way for all four years of high school for Krawczyk, who acknowledges that his three-fold endeavor is "an odd combination."
But why specialize in one when you can specialize in fun?
"A lot of people I've talked to have said if I did specialize [in tennis], I could be a lot better," said Krawczyk, who has been a multi-year All-Extra selection in hockey and tennis. "The truth is, I just love all the sports I play. Each sport I love for a different reason."
In the state singles quarterfinals tomorrow at the Huntington Park Tennis Center in Newport News, Northwestern Region runner-up Krawczyk will face unbeaten Ocean Lakes sophomore left-hander Ben Wirth, the Eastern Region champion.
Krawczyk's views toward his athletic choices were shaped, in part, shortly before he entered high school. While an eighth-grader at Metz Middle School, he underwent surgery for brain cancer. He is now cancer-free, but the condition gave him a deeper understanding of what was important to him.
"I believe the situations that he has had to go through have changed his perspective on everything from life in general to the sports he plays," said his father, Mike. "He was in the hospital and saw so many other kids in much worse shape than he was."
"He does have a more mature approach," Osbourn boys' tennis coach Glen Strickland said. "He can see the larger challenges quicker than a lot of the guys who get sidetracked or distracted easily on really minor points. He can move on to whatever the real challenge is -- and he enjoys the challenge."
Krawczyk, who still suffers from the occasional severe headache and other lingering effects from his condition, can joke now that one of the worst things about his brain surgery was that it took place in the middle of hockey season. But regardless of the time of year, Krawczyk would miss whichever of his sports was in play.
Golf is his "relaxing" pursuit because he has lower expectations for himself. Even so, Krawczyk was a solid No. 4 man for the Eagles last fall and shot a team-best score in a dual-match win over Osbourn Park to help Osbourn sew up a Cedar Run District regular season title and region tournament berth.
Hockey season gives Krawczyk, turned on to the sport by kids in his neighborhood, more of a team flavor than he gets in the fall or spring. Last winter he scored a team-high 16 goals and had 10 assists. He ranks among career leaders in both categories in the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League.
And in tennis, a sport his parents introduced him to as a child, he likes the idea that he has to rely solely on his own talent and wits. He will play tennis next season at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., the third generation of his family to go there.
"It's very difficult for anybody to compete these days in three varsity sports," Strickland said, "and it's even less likely that someone would be as successful or important to their teams as Matt is."
"My friends tease me -- I never get nervous before any type of sporting event," said Krawczyk, who also plays violin and is in the National Honor Society. "I'm very calm.
"Even if there's pressure, you have to enjoy yourself. It's not really worth it to me if I don't enjoy it."