The Last Dance


Joe Kass

Joey Kass enters his senior season for Lakes Baseball committed to the University of Wisconsin Eau Clarie. Kass had to overcome some obstacles during his journey through his career at Lakes, but Kass is physically and mentally prepared to make a big impact for himself and his team this season.
Kass has a mixture of feelings with it being his last year. “With this being my last season I am feeling a mix of sadness and nostalgia,” Kass says. Kass is taking this last year at Lakes as a time to reflect and appreciate everything that has happened to get him in the successful position he’s in now. “I feel like this needs to be a time of reflection, and gratitude, and is a chance to appreciate the bonds and community that have been formed through the shared love of the game,” Kass explained.
Even though this is Kass’ last season, he will be continuing his baseball career at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Clarie. “I am feeling a mix of excitement and mental preparation as I get ready to continue my baseball career at the University of Wisconsin -Eau Claire,” Kass says. Even though Kass is excited about playing college baseball he knows the difference between high school ball and college ball is going to be big. “I am mentally preparing myself for the determination it takes to compete at a higher level, knowing that I will need to work hard to achieve my goals,” Kass says. Kass also understands that being a student athlete in college can be very challenging at times and will need to learn how to balance both his education and playing baseball. “I am anticipating the pressure that comes with being a college athlete and the need to balance my academic studies and social life with my athletic commitments, but at the same time, I am looking forward to the new experiences and opportunities that being a part of a collegiate baseball team will bring,” Kass says. Kass will be taking things he learned from Lakes baseball like the importance of teamwork, communication, and sportsmanship to help better himself in his college game. Lakes has also helped Kass develop a strong work ethic that he will take with himself to college. “I have learned to stay positive, learn from my mistakes, and continue pushing myself to do better, even in challenging circumstances,” says Kass.
Kass will be preparing in many ways for his last season at Lakes like visualizing success, setting goals, staying present-focused. These three skills will help him mentally prepare and build confidence and motivation to achieve his goals for his last season. “To prepare myself mentally for my last year of high school baseball, I’m spending time visualizing myself succeeding on the field… I’m also setting specific, measurable goals for the season to help me stay focused and motivated… I’m working on staying present-focused and developing mindfulness skills to help me perform at my best on the field,” Kass mentioned.
Kass had to overcome many obstacles throughout his high school career. like the COVID-19 pandemic and adjusting to the varsity competition level. “Losing two normal seasons because of the pandemic was a huge disappointment and challenged my motivation and dedication to the sport… Another obstacle that I faced was adjusting to the higher level of competition in varsity baseball,” Kass says. The skill level and speed of the game were much faster than Kass has ever played in before. This required Kass to stay disciplined and committed to his personal training routine to help support himself and his teammates. The obstacles Kass had to face were tough but they made him a better person and player. “The pandemic forced me to be more creative in my training and find new ways to stay motivated, and the challenge of varsity baseball pushed me to work harder and improve my skills.”
“I’m grateful for the experience and look forward to applying the lessons that I’ve learned to future challenges in baseball and beyond.”