BUCKHANNON – In this edition of 15 Questions With…we interview senior Ryan Smith to see what he enjoys about being a Buccaneer and life in general.
Smith has competed in football, basketball and baseball at Buckhannon-Upshur.
1. What has been your favorite athletic moment at Buckhannon-Upshur that you participated in?
My favorite athletic moment- probably the night we almost beat Bridgeport my junior year of football. It was my first game starting at left tackle and even though we didn’t win, the atmosphere at Freal “Red” Crites Stadium that night was one to remember. It was the true definition of what a high school football Friday night should feel like. The place was wild.
2. Describe your toughest practice at Buckhannon-Upshur.
My toughest practice was my first basketball practice my freshman year. I never played organized basketball in middle school, so I wasn’t really used to the whole conditioning thing. Coach Mike Gitzen was pretty tough on us, and basketball is a sport that you have to condition a lot for.
3. Do you have a favorite saying from one of your head coaches?
My favorite saying from a coach is, I don’t think I have one from a head coach, but our defensive line coach Buffy Johnson used to always say “How you doin” in a very intimidating voice. I will always remember coach Johnson and laughing every time he would say it.
4. What was or is your favorite class you have taken at Buckhannon-Upshur and who taught it? Why was it your favorite?
My favorite class was freshman year. I had a journalism class with Mrs. Ramsey-Boyce. I guess they messed up the schedules because that was supposed to just be a senior class, but they put me and two other freshmen in there. It was weird at first being in a class with seniors, but as the year went on we had fun and Mrs. Ramsey-Boyce was a fun teacher
5. What is your favorite thing about being a Buccaneer?
My favorite thing about being a Buccaneer would have to be playing for a small town. There are good and bad things about that, but for the most part it’s fun playing in front of the whole community and playing in front of a lot of people that you know.
6. Who is your hero and why?
My hero would have to be my dad. There’s never been a single time when he wasn’t there for me and never been a single time he’s missed a game on purpose. Now that I’m starting the next chapter of my life working and taking on my own responsibilities, I realize how much he sacrificed during my high school years to always be there and making sure I stayed on track and was doing the right things in life and in sports.
7. What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a state trooper. My dad and my uncle both are, and I want to carry on the family legacy.
8. What are your initial plans after graduation this spring?
I’m just going to work for a few years until I’m old enough to go into the police academy. I’m currently working at Tractor Supply and I love it.
9. What question do you hate to answer?
I hate to answer, “Why do you have an attitutude?” I hate answering this question because 90% of the time I don’t have an attitude. I just come off the wrong way to people. It takes a lot to make me mad and when people ask me why I’m mad or have an attitude, I just tend to ignore it because I’m so used to hearing it. I promise I’m a nice person though.
10. Who is the best athlete in your family?
My dad and I argue about this one constantly. If you ask me it’s me, if you ask him it’s him. On paper he was technically better than me, but he also went to a much smaller school and didn’t play as much competition as I have so we’ll just call it a tie. I would say one day, though, my sister will be better than both of us. She’s in middle school now but I can already tell she has a natural athletic ability and I think with a little work she could be phenomenal. Watch out for Brooklyn Smith on the court these next few years.
11. What is your favorite restaurant and why?
It’s probably the Hillbilly Grill out near Stonecoal. They make the best burgers around.
12. Do you have a favorite vacation spot? If so, where?
It’s Cherokee, North Carolina. Fishing is one of my favorite things to do and Cherokee and the surrounding area is one of the best places in the country to fish for trout and bass. My grandma has been taking me there for years and I will always cherish our memories we have made there.
13. Social media…in favor of it or wish it would go away?
I 100% wish it would go away. There is way too much drama and unnecessary things that go along with it and although it is a good way to connect with people and find out about things, I think we’d all be just fine without it. It seems like people don’t have genuine face to face conversations anymore because everything is done over a phone screen
14. What is the worst movie you have ever seen? Best movie you have ever seen?
I don’t really watch movies that much so I can’t really pick a “worst movie” but the best one I have ever watched is Where the Red Fern Grows.
15. What advice would you give to a young athlete ready to start his/her time as a Buccaneer?
Enjoy your time and make the most of every opportunity you get. There will be rough times, there will be good times, but no matter what never stop working hard, make memories, and most importantly, have fun. I wish I could look back at my high school sports moments and say I don’t have any regrets, but I definitely do. Set goals for yourself and work as hard as you can to achieve them and when you do you’ll feel amazing. You never know when something may happen like it has to all the seniors this spring, so you have to make the most of it while you can. Four years seems like forever when you’re a freshman, but when you’re a senior, you’ll look back and wonder how it went by so fast.