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Posted On: 02/11/19 11:55 AM
Most of us can recall the last time we walked off the court when our high school careers ended. We can remember the team we played and some might even remember their stat line. There were a few us that played at the next level. Some probably had success but there is nothing that replaces the feeling of being part of one of the guys. You develop a bond that often last’s a lifetime. It’s safe to say that most ex-players would love to go back and do it again. Maybe not to change anything, but to simply do it better. We often take things for granted and don’t realize it till they’re gone. We appreciate the lessons learned and how they’re so applicable to life itself.
The Class of 2019 here in Utah features a player who scored his last two points in his high school career. These last two points almost didn’t happen.
When Hayden Blonquist set foot in his small town high school gym as a freshman at North Summit High School in Coalville, Utah. His sheer athleticism made him stand out. Hayden was on track to help his team win games and possibly compete for a state championship. The small town off of I-80 is populated by 1,500 residents.
On game night’ s North Summit has a great following when it comes to basketball. Their traditions bring everyone from the small town in attendance. When Hayden was on the court he stood out. The 6’3 G would fly for rebounds and even throw down dunks with ease. During layup lines he would elevate above the rim with an effortless demeanor. His sophomore year he was almost averaging a double-double a game. He scored 20 points or more a handful of times. But things have drastically changed since 2016.
Last Friday was senior night at North Summit High School and it’s been almost two years since Hayden has set foot on a basketball court. North Summit hosted Layton Christian on Senior Night and #5 Hayden Blonquist was once again in the starting line-up. LCA let North summit win the tip and the ball was soon in Hayden’s hands and he moved carefully to the hoop and scored his last two points of his basketball career. This was not the way Hayden or anyone else expected Hayden’s high school career to end.
In 2016 Hayden’s sophomore year. Hayden wasn’t feeling very well, but like most basketball junkies he powered through and finished his game. He had 12 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
Hayden and his family went to the hospital to see what could be ailing him. When his doctors came back in he was informed that he had leukemia. It is a type of cancer that is found in your blood cells.
When you’re young and athletic at times you feel unstoppable and untouchable. In a matter of seconds from hearing that, Hayden’s life changed forever. Leukemia is a disease that suppresses the production of normal blood cells.
The once aspiring college athlete that was sure to be a next level players dream was deferred.
As the high school basketball season is coming to an end around the country Hayden shares his thoughts and reflections as his basketball career has officially ended.
“Never take things for granted. Always work hard and always give the best. Unfortunately it’s true that you never know when the last time you will play will be, so appreciate the little things.”
“The things I miss the most are all the extra hours put in outside of practice is one. Honestly just the whole aspect of playing the game.”
Hayden might not play the game he loves again, but he did not let his circumstance defeat him. He has battled through chemotherapy and although every day is a battle and he has to be careful with his health. Hayden will attend Weber State University and pursue a degree in Sports Psychology.
We want to wish Hayden luck in his future endeavors.