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Sports Last Updated: Mar 6, 2013 - 9:55:20 AM

Bishops tennis senior named 2012 A-AA Tennis Player of the Year
By Jennifer Johnston
Mar 6, 2013 - 9:53:17 AM

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Emma Schaafsma was shocked - and psyched - to earn a top tennis trophy from the High School Sports Report.

Quite often, a humble attitude toward something points to an innate love for that very thing. It is not about competitiveness or drive, though those characteristics can certainly coexist with humility. At its basic root is an often subconscious prioritization where joyful fulfillment comes first, victories and accolades second.
It seems to be the way with Emma Schaafsma, a senior tennis player at Bishop England High School (BEHS). Not even able to recall when she first picked up a racquet, Emma has had lifelong love for the game. She began taking lessons when she was just eight years old, shortly before her family moved to Daniel Island. “I played a lot of sports when I was younger,” Emma relates. “But tennis was the one I liked best.” Her niche in the game developed over time as well; she played singles early on, but has found herself teamed up into doubles much more with the Battling Bishops. The oldest of five children, Emma has also paved a positive way for her siblings, as they are now starting to take up the game they’ve watched their big sister devour.
And though February 14, 2013 was not a day she’d been anticipating, it was a day she will likely never forget. When she returned home from school that Thursday, her parents, Cara and Doug, told her that she’d been named the 2012 A-AA Tennis Player of the Year by the South Carolina High School Sports Report. “I didn’t really know what it was,” Emma admits. “But my mom told me the banquet was three days away and I needed to get dressed up!”
Emma soon learned just how prestigious, and hard-won, this recognition was for any high school athlete. Honorees are chosen through a balloting process, and the HSSR has been recognizing top athletes from across the state for 25 years. Further punctuating the superlative for Emma was the fact that it came the same year her BEHS coach, Kristen Fleming, was named the 2012 Statewide Tennis Coach of the Year by the same outfit. Both coach and player were honored on Sunday, February 17 at the High School Sports Report Fall Awards Banquet in Columbia.
Still, Emma is remarkably unfazed by her mark of distinction. Sure, she is grateful that her hard work and talent have been noted by people who appreciate tennis and athletics in general. But it hasn’t changed her approach to the game. In fact, Emma is not looking to play at the college level. “I’m planning on joining club tennis next year, to keep my skills up,” she remarks. “But I’m not interested in playing for a school; I want to go to a bigger school.” Though she has not yet determined where she will go in the fall, she does have a plan to study business or communications.
Wherever she ends up next year, there is no doubt that this unassuming athlete will continue to find success with an easygoing demeanor… and a killer swing.
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