It takes a lot of commitment to play two sports at the same time. Some players, such as former National Football League and Major League Baseball players Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson can do it with ease. Other players, such as NFL hall of famer John Elway and former National Basketball Association all-star Danny Ainge, end up choosing one sport over another.
Fredonia High School's Nick Hart and Forestville High School's Nate Stott and Nick Huyck are taking on the challenge of playing two sports at the same time this winter as all three are members of their respective varsity basketball teams, as well as members of the Dunkirk-Fredonia Steelers varsity hockey team.
Hart is a sophomore and sees his fair share of playing time for head coach Greg Lauer and the Hillbillies while Stott, a junior, and Huyck, a senior, are relied on more heavily by their head coach, Ralph Jackson.
Pictured, from left, are:?Forestville’s Nate Stott and Nick Huyck, along with Fredonia’s Nick Hart. All three are members of their respective varsity basketball teams, as well as the Dunkirk-Fredonia Steelers.
"We don't have enough people usually, so everybody has to give a little more effort," Stott said of the Hornets' basketball team. "We have eight (players) this year and that's high for us. We just all have to put in a little more effort to do good."
All three have been playing both basketball and hockey since early in their youth, but it wasn't too difficult for any of them to pick a favorite sport.
"I like hockey a little bit more," Hart said. "I've been playing it all my life and it's different than basketball. I like basketball a lot too, but I like hockey just a little better.
"They're two completely different sports," Hart continued. "I grew up playing hockey and it's always been my love."
Stott and Huyck had different views.
"I like them both equally," Huyck said. "But I'd say I probably have more talent in basketball."
"Basketball," Stott added with little hesitation. "It's a little bit more fun."
They did agree however that neither sport is particularly easy.
"None of them are really easy," Stott said. "But if I had to pick, I'd say basketball is a little easier. "I think I'm just better at basketball than I am at hockey, so it just comes more natural."
"Each of them have their own challenges in their own different ways," added Hart.
Playing two sports means having to please two head coaches and for the most part, the trio thinks they are doing a good job of keeping all involved happy, even Steelers' head coach Jay Bishop.
"I told my hockey coach at the beginning of the season that I had to make basketball my number one (sport)," Hart said. "He understands that basketball is a little more demanding. We have practice every day whereas hockey is only twice a weak, but I do my best to make both and most of the time I can. There aren't too many conflicts."
"Basketball is my priority," Huyck said. "We only have seven or eight guys on the team at a time, so I have to skip hockey to go to my basketball games. But he understands."
As for their teammates on the hockey team, Huyck offered up an insight to what he feel their mindset might be.
"Some of them played (other sports) at the beginning of the season," Huyck said. "Sometimes, when I can't really make it to too many hockey practices because of basketball, I guess I could see how they get a little frustrated, but I think they know I'm (playing two sports), so they know I have to pick one or the other."