Throughout their high school careers, students often turn to a sport or two for any number of reasons: balance in their daily lives, exercise and staying fit, socializing and finding a like-minded circle of friends. Then there are athletes like Sean Lewis, whose love and obsession with sports have helped test his endurance and push his skills to the limits.
The Indian River senior didn’t stop at one or two sports but will be graduating this May, following impressive feats in four varsity sports. With scholastics and personal injuries to contend with, Lewis has given his all in his senior year, from the field, to the pitch, to the hardwood and the diamond.
“I don’t know what I’d do without sports,” he said. “They are my life.”
Ever since he was a child, Lewis had perfected his athletic forte, primarily in soccer and baseball.
He stayed active in club soccer, often traveling the region and then some. He was also a star on the baseball diamond, playing within an AAU league. His soccer and baseball expertise moved with him to Selbyville Middle School, where he participated in both sports and picked up the joy of organized basketball.
Perfecting his knack for athletics at different levels, with different teammates, opened up new doors for Lewis.
As he developed his skill through play at SMS, he became more aware of the responsibilities, dedication and commitment that came with each sport. Once enrolled at Indian River High, Lewis furthered his aptitude, earning primary position as the Indians’ soccer goalkeeper and baseball shortstop.
All the while, Lewis continued to shine on his club soccer team, until an elbow injury in an indoor game during the winter of his sophomore year put a dent in his performance. With a broken humerus bone in his throwing arm, little could be done for the upcoming baseball season.
“I lost most of the baseball season that year,” Lewis recalled. “I was only able to pinch hit late in the season.”
On the road to recovery, he found himself taking it easy. That following summer, he traveled to Scotland and England with his soccer club, still not completely cleared for the goalie position from the previous injury. Shortly after taking to the soccer field, in his first tournament match overseas, Lewis suffered a broken ankle — a major turning point in his career that benched him for 11 subsequent weeks.
Once again, he found himself more as a spectator at IR than a player.
“It was frustrating,” he said, “but, thankfully, it wasn’t my senior year.”
With the fall and winter seasons off, he nursed his injuries and was able to take to the baseball diamond in the spring.
Despite missing out in two sports as he progressed through high school, Lewis wasn’t going to let it deter him in his senior year. He began the 2007-2008 school year back between the goal posts, earning starting keeper position once again.
“The soccer season ended early,” Lewis recalled, though his athletic peak was far from over.
He joined the football team as the team’s punter — a move that he had contemplated earlier that summer. With a successful season on the special teams’ roster, he took a stab at wide receiver the last game of the season, pulling down eight receptions for 135 yards.
“It was an incredible time,” he stated. “My only regret is that I wish I had started football earlier. I had never felt anything like it before.”
With baseball months ahead, Lewis’s impatience and athleticism got the best of him, as he returned to the hardwood this past year, earning substantial playing time on the Indians’ basketball team.
“I had a lot of fun playing back in middle school,” he said, “and it was really great to get back out there again. There are a great group of guys on the team, and it was awesome to be a part of that.”
Stepping out and making himself noticed on a team he had not previously contributed to warranted recognition for Lewis from IR basketball head coach Phil Mead.
“It’s really astonishing what athletes like him can do,” said Mead.
Following a strong basketball season, Lewis has reclaimed his position on the baseball team — a spot that he has made all his own.
“It’s great to be able to hold four starting positions,” Lewis admitted. “It’s really cool to know that I can score playing time with all four sports. The coaches had a lot of respect for me, allowing me to come out and actually get some good playing time, so I’m definitely appreciative of that. I’ve had a lot of fun my senior year.”
Over his high school career, Lewis has been confronted with numerous responsibilities.
“There’s practice, games, lifting,” he said. “You have to keep your grades up, too. There’s a lot to keep straight, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job at it.”
Although he admits he suffered from a small case of senioritis this year, Lewis finished quite notably.
Lewis was accepted to Salisbury University and the University of Delaware, and although nothing is finalized, he anticipates a walk-on position, with either the baseball or basketball teams.
This school year saw the impressive versatility of another soon-to-be graduate, senior Luke Wingate, who accompanied Lewis on the field of all four sports. Wingate’s defense provided protection for Lewis on the soccer field, while his agility and quick thinking contributed greatly on the court.
Like Lewis, Wingate’s strong boot proved vital for the football team, as he secured the role of kicker, and, now, the two accompany the rest of the Indians squad on the baseball field, looking to capture a fourth consecutive conference title.
Establishing camaraderie with someone like Wingate has helped Lewis during and outside of playing time.
“Off the field,” Lewis noted, “we’re real good friends. It’s great, because I always had a friend to go to, no matter what I’m playing.”
If there’s someone who knows the pressures of what Lewis and Wingate are experiencing, it’s baseball head coach Howard Smack, who himself was a four-letter athlete at Georgetown’s former Jason High School.
“I know how they feel,” said Smack, who played football, baseball and basketball, and participated in track and field. “It’s not an easy thing.”
Smack still holds the state title for the javelin.
“Sean makes it look so easy when he’s out there. He’s such a good athlete, and he’s growing into his own and maturing. He makes everything seem effortless. He’s just a natural athlete,” said Smack.
“Luke is also a tremendous player,” he noted. “He took some time off for soccer, but we’re glad to have him back. They’re both a huge contribution to the team.”
Pleased with the way his senior year has shaped out, Lewis eagerly anticipates what awaits him in years to come.
“It’s been an awesome year, and I’ve played with some amazing guys,” he said. “I wouldn’t change a thing. Playing sports is what I do.”