The Swirling Life of a Young Sports Star

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Pierson sophomore Brooke Esposito prepares to enter the water at the Montauk Surf Classic at Ditch Plains. She won competitions on both her short and long boards. Michael Heller photo

Brooke Esposito scored a goal for the Pierson/Bridgehampton field hockey team in a 4-0 win over Southampton on October 18, a Thursday. That Saturday she competed in the Montauk Surf Classic at Ditch Plains in Montauk and finished first in both long and short board competitions. By Sunday morning, she was playing right midfield for a Southampton United club soccer team.

Talk about a hectic schedule.

For many young athletes, competing on a varsity team while keeping up with schoolwork is challenging enough. For Esposito, the challenge is especially arduous as she competes most of the year in multiple sports at a time. In addition to being a standout forward on the Pierson field hockey team, she plays varsity softball and will play either varsity or junior varsity basketball this winter.

Brooke Esposito chases a loose ball against Southampton earlier this year. Gavin Menu photo

Esposito is also a standout student, a 15-year-old sophomore who appears to be a master multitasker.

“As soon as she started getting into sports, she really wanted to try everything,” Esposito’s mother, Diana, said this week. “I sometimes am amazed. She has so much energy. She leaves field hockey practice to go surfing. She has soccer practice twice a week, and games on Sunday. And she keeps her grades up.

“Sometimes, because Brooke wants to do it all,” she added, “and because her grades are so important to her, she sometimes gets overwhelmed.”

In an age when parents are taking an increased roll in balancing their children’s sports and activities, their screen time and homework, the question of how much is too much will often arise. Many athletes choose to focus on a single sport, playing year-round on travel teams to prepare for the scholastic season, but for Esposito, the thought of focusing on just one sport seems impossible.

“I was going to play soccer, because I’ve always played soccer, but I started playing field hockey in seventh grade and I just wanted to continue it through,” she said. “My brother plays for the club team with Southampton United so he said I should just do that and can play both. After a field hockey game, I go right to soccer. And I go surfing after everything.”

Surfing has always been an escape from the grind for Esposito and her father, Jeff, who once owned Espo’s Surf Shop in East Hampton. Together they have built a life on the water, one they would never sacrifice.

Brooke Esposito, in orange, checks the surf conditions with friends at Ditch Plains in Montauk. Michael Heller photo

“It’s a time to get out there and relax for a little while. And she just has fun,” Diana Esposito said. “It’s not that constant competition, but when it comes to the contests, she’s serious about it. “

One of Esposito’s main goals is to become an all-star with the Eastern Surfing Association, an honor she lost out on to another young surfer following last season. She re-dedicated herself to the sport and the results have been phenomenal. In 2017, at the Rell Sunn Surf Contest in Montauk, she won the women’s short board competition and the long board competition for women under 30, and this past summer, at New York Surf Week in North Massapequa, she placed second overall in the girls division.

“She has really surfed well this year,” Diana Esposito said about her daughter, who competed in the Eastern Regionals in New Jersey in May and surfed well until the finals. “In the semi heats, she did awesome and advanced to finals. The next day were the finals and she got a little nervous and didn’t do as well. That was part of the reason she’s been so motivated this season.”

Brooke Esposito playing soccer with her Southampton United club team. Diana Esposito photo

Esposito has three siblings, Jake, 18, Ryder, 12 ,and Zoe, who at seven-years-old was on the sidelines of Tuesday’s Suffolk County Class C Championship game against Port Jefferson chanting, “Pierson, Pierson, Pierson.” Her big sister didn’t score a goal in the 1-0 victory, but it was clear her head and heart were completely wrapped up in the moment.

“Everyone’s coming together, and everyone is learning what each other’s strengths are,” Esposito said. “The team has gotten better by 10 times.”

And the scary part for future opponents is that Brooke Esposito is just getting started.

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