Rebecca Smith wasn't about to let a bad break spoil her senior year at Augusta Preparatory Day School.
Just before the 2002-03 basketball season was underway, Smith collided with a teammate during practice and suffered a broken collar bone.
The Lady Cavaliers' top scoring threat and team co-captain was sidelined, and her senior campaign was in doubt.
"Everyone told me I would be out for basketball, and people were asking how sad I was that I wouldn't be playing anymore," she said. "I knew I was going to come back."
Smith came back with a vengeance. She started at guard the second half of the season and helped Augusta Prep advance to the state playoffs, where the Lady Cavs picked up their first-ever victory in the state tournament.
"She tried to take six or seven charges this year, and she took shots right into the shoulder. That really impressed me," Prep basketball coach Kevin Furtado said. "That was a sign of a person who is very tough."
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Smith's return helped boost the basketball team, and it also lifted the spirits of Augusta Prep soccer coach Doug Williamson, who will rely on Smith to lead the Lady Cavs on the pitch this season.
"In terms of technical ability and her tactical understanding of the game, she's easily one of the best players in this area," Williamson said of his co-captain. "We're going to ask a lot of her. She's going to have to step forward and lead by example, and lead with her voice."
Smith should be up to that challenge. Her leadership and work ethic was displayed during basketball season, but soccer is her favorite sport. As a junior she led Prep with 13 goals, and will spearhead the squad this season at the important midfield position.
"Rebecca has to control the middle of the field, and we expect her to do it all offensively and defensively," Williamson said. " She's there for a reason. She's dedicated, she's strong and she's talented."
Smith's competitive fire also is an asset, and that flame began burning at an early age.
"I've got two brothers and I've grown up playing sports with them. When I hit middle school, I loved to play sports. When I reached high school I think ability took over, instead of just talent."
For Smith, there's an important distinction between the two.
"Talent is something you're born with, and ability is something you have to work for," she says.
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