Humans of Harker: Between the lines

Richard Wang finds balance between seriousness and nonchalance

%E2%80%9CThat%27s+the+good+thing+about+basketball%3B+it%27s+very+much+like+life.+You+make+a+shot%2C+and+you+feel+good%3B+and+you+miss+a+shot%2C+and+you+feel+bad.+It%27s+a+really+sporadic+but+also+you+can+depend+on+it+happening.+You+know+the+oscillation+between+a+climax+and+a+low+point+is+going+to+happen+and+it%27s+always+like+that.+Whenever+you+feel+proud%2C+you+always+know+you+will+feel+down+in+the+future%2C+and+you+just+have+to+ride+that+wave%2C%22+Richard+Wang+%2812%29+said.
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Humans of Harker: Between the lines

“That's the good thing about basketball; it's very much like life. You make a shot, and you feel good; and you miss a shot, and you feel bad. It's a really sporadic but also you can depend on it happening. You know the oscillation between a climax and a low point is going to happen and it's always like that. Whenever you feel proud, you always know you will feel down in the future, and you just have to ride that wave,

“That's the good thing about basketball; it's very much like life. You make a shot, and you feel good; and you miss a shot, and you feel bad. It's a really sporadic but also you can depend on it happening. You know the oscillation between a climax and a low point is going to happen and it's always like that. Whenever you feel proud, you always know you will feel down in the future, and you just have to ride that wave," Richard Wang (12) said.

Kathy Fang

“That's the good thing about basketball; it's very much like life. You make a shot, and you feel good; and you miss a shot, and you feel bad. It's a really sporadic but also you can depend on it happening. You know the oscillation between a climax and a low point is going to happen and it's always like that. Whenever you feel proud, you always know you will feel down in the future, and you just have to ride that wave," Richard Wang (12) said.

Kathy Fang

Kathy Fang

“That's the good thing about basketball; it's very much like life. You make a shot, and you feel good; and you miss a shot, and you feel bad. It's a really sporadic but also you can depend on it happening. You know the oscillation between a climax and a low point is going to happen and it's always like that. Whenever you feel proud, you always know you will feel down in the future, and you just have to ride that wave," Richard Wang (12) said.

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Walking around campus, to and from the athletic center, Richard Wang (12) embodies the chill vibe with his carefree mindset. However, as he steps onto the basketball court, his demeanor shifts to one of seriousness and determination. He springs into action, every move made with precision and meaning.

Having coached Richard since freshman year, Upper School Division Head and varsity boys basketball head coach Butch Keller has observed Richard’s growth since then, noting his change in mindset and personality when he’s on the court.

“He’s a fun, loving, carefree guy until he steps between the lines, and then he’s all business. You don’t want to be on the other side,” Keller said. “He’s super competitive, and I know he’s competitive and serious in the classroom, but there’s a different kind of carefree type of attitude when he’s walking around campus. If you are one of his teammates, he’s got your back, which is probably one of the biggest compliments you can give somebody.”

Richard’s drive on the court come by surprise to many; he is hardworking, persistent, and serious contrasting to his laidback attitude seen around campus. Even late into the night, Richard is often seen at Calabazas Park practicing what he is truly passionate about: basketball.

Having played basketball since fourth grade, Richard’s involvement with basketball goes beyond the varsity team at Harker. He coaches basketball at the youth league where he played before for the past five years and strives to help young players realize the same joy and passion that basketball has given him. Richard’s experiences as a coach allows him to better understand the reasoning behind his own coach’s actions.

“There are things that you don’t really understand until you see it from the coach’s perspective. For example, there are times when the coach stops and just makes you run. At the time, I didn’t understand why I had to do that,” he said. “When I became a coach later, I experienced similar things [with students not understanding why they have to do certain exercises]. There are things that you can only experience from a coach’s perspective, and it teaches you things.”

While developing his own passion for basketball as well as giving back to the community through his active role as a coach himself, he develops character and maturity throughout his highschool years. From a goofy ninth grader to a mature young adult, it is apparent to Keller that Richard has grown since the start of high school.

“It’s been very tough [for him] since he’s injured this year. When you’re a senior, this was going to be your year and he’s been injured. He’s had to be patient, he’s had to be very reserved, and he’s had to be a cheerleader, which is not who he’s ever been. He’s always been on the court and in the middle of things,” Keller said. “I think one of my favorite moments is during our Christmas dinner we had after practice. We did a fun game and the funny side of Richard came out. Because he’s not playing and there’s no pressure on him, he’s been able to be more relaxed, and I hadn’t seen that before. It’s also part of his maturity.”

Basketball has also allowed Richard to develop his familiar carefree attitude, a “go with the flow” mentality.

“That’s the good thing about basketball; it’s very much like life. You make a shot, and you feel good; and you miss a shot, and you feel bad. It’s a really sporadic but also you can depend on it happening,” he said. “You know the oscillation between a climax and a low point is going to happen and it’s always like that. Whenever you feel proud, you always know you will feel down in the future, and you just have to ride that wave.”

Throughout high school, basketball shaped him to become someone who could combine both aspects of seriousness and nonchalance. He found a unique identity that sets him apart from others that his friends notice.

“He has his own unique personality… A lot of our group doesn’t want to meet [outside of school] unless Richard’s there – that’s something really unique and striking about him as well. Richard just brightens up your day,” Richard’s friend Suraj Pakala (12) said. “A lot of people have their own [highs and lows], but Richard neutralizes that and makes you really happy.”

Jessie Wang (11), Richard’s younger brother, admires Richard’s determination and sense of self-direction.

“He knows what he wants; he has an idea of what he needs to do to get what he wants,” Jessie said. “He has a direction. He’s going to work for it, and he’s not afraid to work for it, which is a pretty admirable trait.”

Striking a combination between his two personalities has guided him to find meaning in his passions.

“Any different activity is the same in a sense: you build character, you experience situations where you can develop EQ. Basketball is a team game, so you have to constantly adapt and understand,” Richard said. “As a young kid playing basketball, when you encounter situations like [injuring] someone on accident, you just have to deal with that. It builds character, and it helps you deal with consequences.”

Yet, for him, that passion-seeking journey isn’t over yet.

“I feel like it’s fun to play basketball, but [still] I don’t know why though. It’s always been something I’ve asked myself,” he said. “Why do you think it’s fun to do? Why do you like what you like? And I guess I don’t have an answer to that yet.”