Editor’s note: Athlete’s Angle is a new series in which area student-athletes share their stories from the fields, courts, pools and wherever else they compete. This week’s guest is Cony junior Robbie Buck, who swims and plays tennis. If your school is interested in participating in the series, please contact sports editor Bill Stewart at 207.621-5618.

The transition from middle school to high school sports is a formidable challenge.

Expectations are natural. Failure always looms around the corner.

Personally, I left middle school with a passion for sports — or so I thought. I played the “big three” sports — football, basketball and baseball. I was excited to continue and take the next step to high school competition, but something got in the way.

I gave up.

In my new environment, I found that new kids from other middle schools intimidated me. They seemed taller and stronger. I let them scare me off, and with that fear went my passion. My heart was not longer in it, so I knew it was time to let go.

I played basketball the winter of my freshmen year. I had high hopes for the season. To my dismay, I rarely left the bench and I blamed it on my coach.

I never really looked at the real problem: My attitude.

I felt I was good enough, so why put in the extra time? I soon learned that I really didn’t have a passion for the sport, after all. In fact, I was participating for all the wrong reasons.

The problem with high school is that the opinions of your peers affect everything you choose to do. I felt as if I needed to act and dress a certain way to be taken seriously; this pertained to sports as well. If my friends participated in sports, I was obligated to, right?

I enjoyed the sport enough, but not enough to try to improve. At the time, I was too naive to notice.

Tennis is a sport that motivated me to work hard. I experienced a little success as a freshman, so it pushed me to try harder and put in the time. Like football players in the weight room, I practiced in the offseason. I was a little apprehensive because tennis wasn’t the “cool” sport, but I got over it.

Now, I swim and play tennis. These are two sports that rarely receive recognition or accolades. I am proud, and no longer fazed by anyone’s thoughts or opinions. I love tennis, I enjoy swimming and what now matters is my motivation to succeed. My participation in sports has taught me one important lesson: Play for yourself and your love of the sport.

From freshman year until now, in my junior year, I’ve realized that only I can make myself happy. Who does what doesn’t matter, because in the end it will only be me whom I can please.

So here I am, three years later. I’m playing two sports that I would have never expected to enjoy so much. I am not the best and I am not the worst.

What I am, however, is happy.