PERRY — Through 11 varsity seasons, Perry senior Garrett McClurg has played a major role in what will be looked back on as a successful period of Yellowjackets’ boys athletics. A four-year varsity soccer player, three-year varsity basketball player and four-year varsity baseball member, McClurg has been a mainstay in the blue and gold and will leave a hole that won’t be easy to fill.
“Garrett has been one of very few players that puts his full commitment into each sport that he’s played,” said Perry soccer coach Tim Thompson. “He was one of three captains on the team and he lead by great example. He was one of the hardest workers on and off the field, and I enjoyed coaching him.”
Although McClurg will be sorely missed in Perry, he won’t soon forget his time spent as a Yellow Jacket.
“I’m going to miss the feeling of having the people in our town supporting us through everything. Going out and having support from our little town wherever we went was a great feeling,” said the Perry senior. “I’m also going to miss playing with my best friends. We made the best memories together while wearing the blue and gold.”
During a senior year in which he was honored as a Livingston Conference All-Star in two sports, McClurg was unable to cap-off his final season due to the current health crisis which has led to a roller coaster of emotions during the 2019-2020 campaign.
“In the fall my emotions were very high because I was expecting a great year in soccer with my best friends and we worked so hard for the past six years and we achieved so much this year, and (in basketball we) had a great season that almost ended in a sectional title,” began McClurg. “I was really looking forward to my baseball season because I thought we had potential to be very good with a new coach, but unfortunately it got cut short and I didn’t get to finish my high school sports career which was pretty upsetting, but understandable.”
McClurg was really looking forward to baseball season.
“I thought we could be way better than the past couple years with a new and better coach. We had guys that had talent and knew a lot about the game,” he added.
Coaching is key in any high school sport, and McClurg says he is lucky to have had some of the best around throughout his many years as a Yellowjacket.
“My soccer coach from sixth grade until (my senior year), Tim Thompson helped me and my team get to the level we were at this year. Also coach Callum Pollock my soccer coach from ninth to 11th grade gave me the opportunities to excel and teach me new skills,” McClurg said. “All the coaches from (youth) basketball, through this year in basketball taught me so much and helped me become the player I was this year.”
Although he has had many supporting forces throughout the years, perhaps none have been more impactful to McClurg’s success than his father.
“My dad (made a big impact) in all three sports and he helped me get better and better each day,” McClurg added.
In the end, says McClurg, it doesn’t come down to the coaches you have, but it’s about how you take that coaching and respond to those who are trying to support you.
“I would tell (young athletes) to be coachable, practice like you would play and always have fun,” said McClurg, who plans to attend Syracuse University in the fall where he will study business finance. “Listen to people that want to help you because you will learn so much from mentors and coaches.”
Excited for the next phase of his life, McClurg will always look back fondly at his time spent at Perry.
“I’m going to miss the small town feel of Perry and all the great people that support each other,” he said. “I love walking out of the door every day knowing almost every face I see and I will never forget where I grew up.”