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Spotlight on a teen athlete

Beau Holappa plays lacrosse in a game on June 19. (Photo courtesy of John Parker)

In a time when kids devote increasing amounts of time to competitive sports, sometimes they can still manage to play a pick-up game for fun.

Beau Holappa, a senior at Duluth East, has mastered the balancing act of playing competitive sports year-round, while also enjoying recreational soccer and basketball leagues with his friends.

During the spring and summer, Holappa plays competitive lacrosse with the Duluth Chargers and the Minnesota Jaxx lacrosse teams. In the fall he runs cross country for Duluth East and plays basketball in the winter for East as well.

“My favorite part of being in sports is just being with my friends,” Holappa said. “I met most of my friends through sports. It’s just fun to be around them all the time.”

Holappa enjoys playing a pick-up game of basketball or soccer with friends just as much as competitive sports. He and and his friends have set up recreational leagues for soccer and basketball games.

“We have the MBL, which is a basketball league,” Holappa said. “Then we have the LSL, which is a soccer league we do.”

The leagues consist of mostly Duluth East students who play a variety of sports. For their basketball league, the boys play 2-on-2 games in a participant’s driveway. For the soccer league, their home turf is the Saint Scholastica field. The boys play 12-minute games on a fraction of the field with small nets and 3 players to a team. The games are low-pressure, as many of the players don’t competitively play soccer or basketball.

“For the soccer league, there are five captains who play soccer and then they draft kids who don’t play soccer, so there’s bunch of different skill levels,” Holappa said. “And for the basketball league, half the kids play basketball and half the kids don’t. We get paired up so it’s pretty even.”

Playing a game of soccer or basketball with friends can be fun, but Holappa enjoys the intensity of competitive sports as well.

“Pick up sports are more laid-back, but sometimes I don’t really like that,” Holappa said. “Sometimes I like to have pressure on you.”

With all the different sports and activities Holappa has going, it can be difficult to balance both year-round competitive sports with recreational athletics with friends.

“The hardest part of being in sports is time management,” Holappa said. “Sometimes they conflict and you have to make choices. It’s good though, because it teaches you how to manage your time better.”