NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Amanda Marano’s primary sports are basketball (winter) and softball (spring), but the North Salem senior has played four different fall sports: soccer, field hockey, tennis and volleyball.
A leader on any playing surface, Marano has captained her field-hockey, basketball and softball teams. She was won MVP, MIP and All-League awards.
How are you getting through this period of social distancing? What are you doing to keep busy?
I’ve actually been trying to read. I say trying because I’m dyslexic, so anything other than “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is a struggle for me. I have also been starting fights with my sister over absolutely nothing because I have nothing better to do.
When did you start playing softball and what got you started?
I started playing softball in fourth grade. I started playing because I had to channel my ADHD into something somewhat active, and some of my friends were getting into it at that time as well.
What jersey number do you wear and is there any significance behind it?
For every sport I try to cop the No. 1 jersey, for cocky reasons of course. Also, because I’m the height of a toddler and the smaller the number, the smaller the jersey.
What is your favorite sports memory from your time at North Salem?
Hard question to answer, but I’d have to say beating John Jay at home this basketball season. The atmosphere in the gym was awesome and it was such a hard-fought game. Also, refereeing the varsity boys basketball games was a lot of fun, even though I wasn’t playing in them. Definitely my future profession.
Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?
I’ve actually never had a role model. I know it sounds weird, but I don’t really look up to anyone. Despite this, Coach Mackenzie has been my biggest helper. Throughout my four years of basketball, Coach Mackenzie constantly gave me advice, which in most cases turned into hour-long motivational speeches. He always lightened the mood by cracking dad jokes, and was the only coach that knew how to tame my temper (unfortunately this was after the ripping of two jerseys). He attempted (key word) to play me one on one just about every practice, and always made sure I was doing okay. Without Coach Matt, I wouldn’t be half the basketball player I am today.
I also had a big helper by the name of Annie. Annie attended every game and always gave me a pre-game pep talk. She kept me mentally sharp and confident in my abilities. Chatting with Annie was a huge reason as to why I looked forward to games so much.
Annie along with my mom, were my two biggest fans. And unfortunately for the others around them, the two loudest cheerers in the gym.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
If I’m having a good day, I’ll wear my green underwear. If not, American flag underwear is the way to go. I normally down a sandwich with a bag of garlic parmesan pretzels, too. I’m not saying what’s in the sandwich because I’m tired of getting bullied for it. Oh, and a Gatorade. Color doesn’t matter, I don’t discriminate.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Probably the power to have my sister’s metabolism. I sat on my deck chair yesterday and broke it; quarantine eating isn’t doing me well. That or the ability to grow. Literally any more height would be appreciated. I’m tired of looking like a garden gnome.
What is something about yourself people would be surprised to learn?
I don’t know if you would consider this interesting, but I always end my showers with cold water. Apparently, it’s good for circulation or something. I should probably do more research on that before hypothermia gets the best of me.
What place would you most like to visit?
At this point, anywhere besides my house. Maybe Texas because, although I hate the heat, I was born there and I’ve heard the fishing is poppin’.
What is your favorite place to eat locally?
I really like going to The Blazer. We haven’t gone in a long time, but I definitely get childhood vibes when we do. Fun fact, since playing some of the games there, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m unstoppable at Pac-Man.
What’s the go-to app on your phone and why?
As much as I hate to say it, it’s probably TikTok. I like TikTok because it gives me Vine vibes, and the content is short enough to keep my ADHD in high gear. Also, because it doesn’t involve me talking to people. I constantly get yelled at by my friends for not being active on most of social media.
Are you currently binging anything?
I don’t watch TV/Netflix, but I’m currently binging Jenna Marbles YouTube videos. Good stuff.
For a young athlete growing up in the North Salem school district, what would you tell them about the experience of being on the softball and basketball teams and why should they go out for them?
Being on the softball and basketball teams (or really any sports team) is truly something special. I know everyone says it, but it allows you to make new friends and better the bonds you have with your current friends. A day playing your sport after school can turn an average, boring day into something so much better. Personally, I can’t tell you how many good memories and friendships I’ve been able to make because of softball.
Don’t worry about not being as athletic as others or not having the right skill set for the sport yet, that’s why you’ll have daily practices. Most importantly, sports are meant to be fun. Why do you think I changed my fall sport so much? Because if the sport isn’t fun, there’s no point in playing it. That being said, I had so much fun playing softball over the years, and hopefully you will, too.
When it comes to basketball, I know it sounds cliché, but hard work pays off. I’m 5-foot-1, 132 pounds, and I was the starting point guard for the girls varsity basketball team. Size doesn’t matter, athletic ability doesn’t matter, where you’re from doesn’t matter, how long you’ve been playing doesn’t matter, etc. Sure, it may seem like some people have it “easier” than you because of the cards they’ve been dealt, or because they have something you don’t. But if you grind and do absolutely everything you can to succeed, you will.
That being said, no one is perfect. Don’t get frustrated after making mistakes and don’t compare yourself to others. Success isn’t given, it’s earned. And although succeeding is your endpoint, having fun on your journey to it is the best part.