By: Louisa Johnson ’13
Adam Hardej is a stellar athlete. He has been tri-varsity in football, basketball, and lacrosse since Third Form. Although all three sports are very different, something universal in all of them that he likes is “when a team comes together and is comfortable playing with one another.”
In basketball he is a forward and in lacrosse he is a midfielder. He gets in the zone no matter what sport he’s playing by ordering a Bread Bowl of Soup from Panera bread, the meal of champions.
He recently came into public attention for his incredible performance during the Brooks football game under the lights this year, but that was not his favorite game, although he knows it was his most impressive stat-wise. His favorite was beating BB&N last year not only because of how much they performed and achieved as a team but also because of the incredible level of crowd support at the game.
He has such prowess in the sport both due to his massive size but also because of his notable technical abilities, as he clearly demonstrated in his recent game under the lights at Brooks.
There is nothing more inspiring to him than the moving speeches of Coach John Lyons before every game. Adam feels that Groton football took a definitive turn for the better after team leadership came under Coach Lyons. He felt that Coach Lyons’ ability to inspire the players was best exemplified in his speech before the St. Marks game last year.
Coach Lyons said, “Adam has really come into his own this year. He has always had great physical skills, but not only is he paying more attention to getting more out of those skills,but he’s also emerged as a leader.”
Adam is taking this year to step into a leadership role. He is attempting to make a better impression on those who look up to him. “I am someone who gets really angry at myself. I yell at myself, but I don’t yell at teammates. After I didn’t get voted captain, I realized I affected people in a negative way by how I act towards myself. I never really realized eyes were watching me all the time, but now, I understand that kids look up to me.”
Adam has modeled his role as a senior based on the football players from the Form of 2012. “Last year, we had ten seniors who were dedicated to football. They loved the sport. They didn’t have to be out there, but they wanted to be. I’ve never really seen that at Groton. I’m really grateful for that experience. That’s what you hope for.” St. Mark’s Day last year was especially powerful for Adam because it was the last game he played with the Form of 2012. “I played thirds’ with those guys. I played every year of football possible with those guys.” Seeing all the seniors so emotional hit home the impact those seniors had not only on Adam but on the Groton Football program as a whole.
But now another year has passed, and Adam is one of the seniors approaching the end of his football career. Unlike lacrosse and basketball, football is an organized game where the uniform, pads, and field are necessary for a real contest. It’s possible to play pick-up lacrosse or basketball any time; Adam says, “I’ll play pickup for the rest of my life.” But his football days are dwindling, and he’s going to miss it. He’s going to miss the physicality, “I get really fired up during sports, and in football, it’s encouraged. I’ll miss that aspect.”
In the winter, Adam will commence his last season as a Groton basketball player. Though he trumpets the physicality of football, he enjoys the aspect of power and finesse in basketball. “I like the combination of having to be strong and having to be soft,” he explains, quickening his voice and adding hand gestures, “Like in a layup, you have to be gentle to make the shot, but at the same time, you have to power through people to get to the basket.”
Gary Lorden ’13, a teammate since Second Form, praises Adam’s abilities, “He’s a great basketball player. He gets up and down the floor well and takes off for a dunk with ease. Whenever he gets the ball he makes something exciting happen.”
After a goodbye to basketball, Adam will transition to his final season of high school lacrosse. He made Varsity lacrosse as a Second Former and is proud to say he has seen Groton lacrosse change from a joke to a competitive team. He believes Groton has been incredibly lucky to have the team it has. The team has become a unit because of the time spent playing together: “There’s a lot of us who have been on the team since freshman year. Peter and I have been playing since Second Form.”
Adam will continue to play lacrosse in college. He committed verbally in Fourth Form spring to Princeton. Mr. Low believes Adam will make an outstanding college athlete: “Adam is a difference-maker everytime he sets foot on the field. His physical gifts, skills, and love for the game will all bring much to Princeton University’s lacrosse program.”