As it turns out, a lot of naps.
“Basically it comes down to time and sleep management,” said Edison’s James Hill, who graduated on Sunday from the school. “It’s hard to balance all that’s going on.”
I spoke with Hill on the eve of his graduation ceremony on Saturday. Seemingly every year, there is a handful of athletes that I find myself reflecting on. In some instances, the time flies and you wonder how said athlete could be done with high school already. Other times, I ask myself sometimes if a kid has been in school five or six years.
With James Hill, it honestly felt a little bit of both.
A bit of context: Hill was the rare four-sport athlete. He doubled up on soccer and football in the fall, basketball in the winter and tennis in the spring.
But not only was he All-Sandusky Bay Conference in every sport — Hill was first-team all-league in all four sports in the same school year.
That, in my opinion has got to be one of the best individual feats I can think of when taking in the whole body of work. However, what separates that accomplishment for this writer was Hill’s demeanor and response to it all.
“It’s pretty overwhelming, but definitely I’m proud of that — and the fact that I was able to maintain my academics, too,” Hill said.
In other words, first-team status in four sports in one year isn’t in his top favorite achievements.
Hill carried a 4.51 grade-point average at Edison. He is soon off to one of the more prestigious universities in the Midwest when he starts working on his Economics major at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.
So with that in mind, Hill’s greatest accomplishment in his four years at Edison wasn’t athletics-related. And keep in mind from the team aspect alone, he was key member of some accomplishments never before done at the school.
On top of Academic Challenge success, Hill spearheaded a Teen Leadership Corps project to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Edison’s all-time points leader, Hill accepted donations and pledges for each double-double he achieved during basketball season and raised nearly $1,000 as a result.
“To be a part of something like that, I just got so much out of it than even I had hoped or expected,” he said. “To be able to raise money for something like that was the most rewarding experience of high school by far.”
When asked the type of advice he would give to any athletes entering high school who play multiple sports, Hill said to never be afraid to put yourself out there.
“Entering my freshman year, I was pretty successful in track in junior high,” he said. “But to come out and tell all those track coaches I already knew I was playing tennis in high school — it threw some people off.
“But as a freshman in my other sports and even as an underclassman, it was about having confidence in my ability to play with the bigger and older kids,” Hill added. “It takes a lot of confidence to put yourself out there.”
Hill was first voted all-league first team in soccer as a defender in the fall, and was also first-team SBC Bay as the placekicker for the football team. He then earned the vote on first team from the other league coaches in basketball, and most recently in tennis, beat every league opponent in front of him in the regular season and SBC tournament.
“I think it speaks a lot to those who helped me along the way, my parents especially for encouraging me to try different things,” Hill said. “The result was I was able to get enough practice at these different sports and become better.”
Nothing is ever easy in performing at a high level in athletics, yet alone in four sports in the same school year.
But there was one area that Hill found quite easy — and proved to be the most beneficial: get some rest, kids.
“I was raised on a farm, so it was easy to go to sleep when the sun goes down and wake up when it rises,” he said. “A lot of naps, just a lot of sleep in general. That part was easy.”