- By Patty Hutchens
Athlete of the Month: Irvin Yi
Gig Harbor High School
A senior at Gig Harbor High School, Irvin Yi found a passion for tennis after his freshman year when he played primarily on the junior varsity team. It was that passion that drove him to practice continuously in the off season, playing with family, friends and a few coaches. That determination quickly paid off.
“My sophomore year I ended up playing No. 1 singles and qualified for state,” said Irvin. “These past three years I have continued to play often and have improved my placements at the conference tournament from fifth my sophomore year to third and now to second place.”
Irvin’s determination is also evident when it comes to academics. He is at the top of his class and is active in speech, debate and HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America). He placed third at HOSA’s national conference last year and won state in his speech event.
Irvin plans to attend a four-year college and pursue a career in the medical field and also study business administration.
“Because health and wellness are at the root of all other benefits and experiences, I believe working in health care has the greatest positive impact,” said Irvin. “As a physician, I believe the personal interactions will allow for me to make a tangible impact in the lives of real people who I interact with. As a health administrator, I hope to have the ability to play a positive role in the lives of many through large-scale administration. I believe this combination will allow me to have an individual and holistic impact on others.”
Irvin began playing competitive sports when he was 5 and played soccer, a sport he continues to play today.
“Balancing this sport with my busy academic and extracurricular schedule was already difficult, as I practice twice a week and have games on the weekend, so adding tennis to the mix was even more of a challenge,” said Irvin. “Many days, I would head straight to a club activity, then go directly to tennis lessons some 45 minutes away, and then to soccer, getting home late at night. My most difficult challenge was time management, but I got through it by being efficient and making the most of my time.”
Irvin shares that initially he enjoyed the individual aspect of tennis, where his skill was dictated purely by his own work and dedication. “This individual drive helped me to improve. But as I have progressed, I have really appreciated the high school team. Playing the sport allows me to meet new people of different social groups and grades,” said Irvin.
Sports, especially tennis, have taught Irvin the importance of always trusting himself.
“Tennis is an extremely mental sport, where unfounded doubts on your stroke or strategy can snowball into a really bad play. Over time, I have learned to trust my shots and my decisions on the court, which has slowly translated to off the court as well.”