Humans of Harker: Incessant improvement

Levi Sutton strives to constantly better himself through athletics

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Provided by Levi Sutton

“It’s important that you improve yourself, in some way, every single day. Because then if you’re not doing that, you’re going backwards,” Levi Sutton (12) said.

Levi Sutton (12) recalls stepping through the crowds, the pre-pandemic stadium roaring. Having attended fifteen Oakland A’s games in a single summer pre-COVID, he’s disappointed since the pandemic will heavily restrict attendance this year. Though he can no longer attend games in person, his passion for the game of baseball is no less diminished. He is similarly enthusiastic about football, crossing his fingers for a semblance of a season this year despite quarantine.

Levi has always been an athlete: his parents introduced him to the game of baseball when he was 6, and he joined Harker’s flag football team in the sixth grade. Since then, he’s played both sports every year, in addition to a short sprint playing basketball during middle school. He made the A-team of basketball in sixth grade, but when it came time for the seventh grade team placements, he was put on the B-team. This temporary setback only bolstered the effort he put towards basketball.

“I remember the first game of being put on the seventh grade B-team. I put up 33 points or something and hit five threes in a row. And then I came back the next year and played, tried out for basketball and made the A-team eighth grade year,” Levi said. 

Through sports, Levi continues to find ways to push himself and continue growing. He enjoys taking on difficult goals, working tirelessly to achieve them. When he started playing football for the upper school team, he was put in a completely different position from what he was used to.

“I like something that’s challenging and out of my comfort zone, because in middle school, I never played O line [in football]. I was a receiver. But then I got to high school and they needed guys on the O-line, and I was there,” Levi said. 

Not only does he strive to improve himself, he also encourages his friends to persevere as well. Close friend Nicholas Coulter (12) attends football and baseball practice alongside Levi. He described their relationship as mutual motivation, especially in sports.

“Sometimes I won’t want to go out and work out that day. And he’ll push me to go and work out with him. Same with me: if he sometimes doesn’t want to do it, I’ll push him,” Nicholas said. 

Through the ups and downs, Levi is there to help the people he values whenever they need it. After receiving a surgery in his middle school years, Keshav Bhanot (12) saw and appreciated Levi as a true, loyal friend.

“They say your best friends pull through when you’re at your lowest. In middle school, I had to get a lot of surgeries done. And Levi was always there, checking up on me, he would call me after my surgeries, he would come visit. And then at school during the recovery period, he would help me carry my stuff,” Keshav said. “It meant a lot to me that he did that.”

For Levi, sports are a great place for strategy, fun and physical exercise. In addition to competition and physical exercise, sports represents a special significance to Levi. 

“I have fun practicing with friends. I love making friends through the sport. Everybody has a common goal in mind. And everybody’s working day in and day out to achieve that goal of winning that game. And when you do win that game, it’s a great feeling,” Levi said.

Levi’s friends enjoy playing alongside him, even if they wouldn’t try a sport normally. When Keshav joined the baseball team for the first time, Levi was there to guide him.

“I joined the team just to hang out with him. And he showed me the ropes, and he let me use his old gloves and his bat, and it was a really, really cool experience for me, because that was my first introduction into sports,” Keshav said.

Levi’s hard-working mindset doesn’t only apply to sports. Mathematics teacher Jane Keller, who taught Levi in his junior and senior years, recognizes the equal amounts of effort Levi poured into both his academics and his sports.

“I watched him go through some struggles during some of the topics we were working on. And so I got to see him having faced adversity with his academics and deal with it gracefully and keep at it until he fixed it, until he succeeded,” Keller said.

Throughout his high school experience, Levi has gained many different useful tips and bits of information about school and general life. From training at his home gym to working on challenging academics, Levi aims to keep bettering himself and making progress every day. 

“It’s important that you improve yourself, in some way, every single day. Because then if you’re not doing that, you’re going backwards,” Levi said.