Player of the week: Michelle Skarbinski

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Michelle Skarbinski is truly a sports warrior.

“Grit and determination, calmness and inner strength are words to describe Michelle on the soccer field,” Lake Region varsity girls’ soccer Coach Lynne Harrison said.

Plagued with a misdiagnosed foot injury during her junior year, Michelle saw limited playing time. After many doctor visits and treatments this summer, Michelle received the final verdict on her injury. Along with chronic severe arthritis, a nerve in her foot is compressed to the point where only surgery and a six-month healing period will bring any form of relief. No further treatments will provide any lessening of the intense pain. However, the condition cannot be made worse by activity.

So Michelle was faced with a difficult decision — play in pain or skip her senior season.

She decided to “gut it out and play in intolerable pain,” Coach Harrison said.

“For Michelle, this is probably the end of her soccer experience — this will most likely be her last season and she refused to sit it out,” the coach said. “I have never watched a young woman play through such constant pain. Sure, everybody gets hurt, but not indefinitely and surely not in intense pain. Ask Michelle how her foot is and she will always answer ‘it’s fine.’ I know it’s a lie — you can see it in her eyes. Chronic pain can’t be hidden. And still, she plays, with as much passion and fire as anyone.”

Why does the LR senior battle the pain when she could easily call it quits, be a spectator and live without discomfort?

“It’s her love of the game and the love of her teammates that keeps her going on,” Coach Harrison said. “Michelle constantly thinks of her teammates. Her calm, even nature puts people at immediate ease. She’s the first to step forward when a job needs to be done.”

Michelle was instrumental this year in conducting the Lakers’ youth soccer camp. As far as Coach Harrison was concerned, Michelle was an easy and great choice for “Player of the Week.”

In recognition of her strong work ethic, determination, commitment and good sportsmanship, Michelle is this week’s Lake Region Athletic Boosters Club and Hancock Lumber “Player of the Week.”

Each week, a Lake Region athlete is recognized for his/her dedication (does more than what is asked), work ethic, coachability and academic good standing. Recipients receive a specially-designed T-shirt, sponsored by Hancock Lumber.

The Skarbinski File

Name: Michelle Skarbinski

Year in School: Senior

Town: Bridgton

Parents: Michael and Beth Skarbinski

School Activities/Sports: Girls’ soccer

Q. Why did you choose soccer? MS. It was almost like it was chosen for me. Back in seventh grade, my friends signed me up and wanted me to play. Ever since, I’ve stuck with it and loved every minute of it.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish this season? MS. I hope that I make a difference and leave something behind with the team. I want our team to trust and feel comfortable with each other, so knowing where each other are on the field becomes natural.

Q. What do you enjoy the most? MS. The feeling of victory. Even if we don’t win every game, our team grows closer as a whole. We’re a family and we’re constantly working together. We all leave our heart on the field, and I feel that’s key.

Q. What do you like the least? MS. The ending of every game. I hate going home, leaving the field knowing this is my last year and having to leave my team, my family.

Q. What makes you successful? MS. My ambition and drive to always do better than my best. My support from my parents, coaches and my teammates.

Q. What would your dream moment be? MS. To make it to the playoffs.

Q. What has soccer taught you? MS. Respect and sportsmanship. From my coaches and teammates, I’ve learned how to grow into an adult, keep my composure and to put everything into the game or lose it all. Through soccer, I’ve found myself.

Q. Who has inspired you? MS. My mom. She’s always there for me, supporting me and she’s never left my side. She’s the greatest woman you’ll ever meet. She’s helped me through the rough patches of soccer and when I feel like I can’t do anything because of my foot. I love you, Mom! Thank you.

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