Johnston, a Jack of many trades


Daelin Brown

Johnston looks for a pass during a soccer game.

TOWAMENCIN- The past 13 years in the North Penn School District has brought senior Jack Johnston to new friends and experiences, shaping him into who he is today. But one thing stayed constant in his life. Whether he was running in the fastest heat of the dash on Olympic day at Montgomery Elementary, or playing on the varsity soccer team at North Penn, Johnston has always had his life revolved around sports.

No matter the changes that occurred in a household with 4 children, sports were the one thing that always remained a staple in Johnston’s life. Being in a family of athletes, someone always had a sporting event to go to on weekends when he was younger.

“My brother, Tyler was a very good athlete and he still holds the record for running the fastest time on the home course as a freshman, here at North Penn. He ran cross country freshman, sophomore and junior year. He jumped over to soccer senior year and started on the varsity team after not playing soccer for a few years. He was my motivation to play sports growing up,” said Johnston.

Since elementary school, Johnston has participated in various sports from the recreational level to the competitive travel leagues. Having a sport to play every season, his schedule was filled with soccer, basketball and baseball. Many people who knew Johnston in middle school would have thought he definitely had a shot at a running career in either track or cross-country, but strangely enough, after dropping soccer, he made his way back around to it.  

“Well, I started out playing soccer from age seven until eighth grade. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it in high school, and my brother ran cross country. He was very successful at it, so I figured I’d give it a shot knowing my ability to run. I did freshman year, and I was good at it, but I didn’t particularly like it. I went back to my old club soccer team and started playing soccer competitively again from there,” Johnston explained.

Johnston tried out for the school soccer team sophomore year because he always liked playing middle school soccer rather than club soccer. The reason school soccer is different than club soccer is that he got to play with his North Penn friends, and to him, that made a huge difference. From trying out in his sophomore year, Johnston moved to starting varsity his junior and senior year while also being a team captain.

“Over the years Jack seems to have become a more confident player. I think Jack adds a strong sense of leadership to the team as a captain. He can really get the team to be serious and focused,” said teammate, Leo Kawabata.

Going back to soccer was not Johnston’s only change, but he also played for the lacrosse team his sophomore and junior year. Never really having interest in lacrosse or playing the sport before, he just felt that he needed something to fill his time. Johnston knew what it was like to go a season without playing sports. He felt that he grew into bad habits, such as going home and falling asleep on the couch. He figured trying something new couldn’t be any worse for him.  

“Lacrosse in the spring was pretty random. I felt like I need a schedule, and sports gives me a schedule. I wanted to do a sport but I didn’t want to do track, so I decided to give lacrosse a shot. It was the most physical sport I’ve ever played, so I definitely benefited from it,” said Johnston.

This spring, Johnston is unsure of what sport he will have to fill his time. Although many benefits came from lacrosse, making his mom happy always sits in his mind.

“My mom ran and she loves running. If I were to run track in the spring it would only be because she wants to see me run races. I wouldn’t do it for myself, I’d do it for her,” said Johnston.

My mom ran and she loves running. If I were to run track in the spring it would only be because she wants to see me run races. I wouldn’t do it for myself, I’d do it for her

— Jack Johnston

Playing sports is not just a big part of Johnston’s family, but his friend group has formed around sports. All of his friends play sports, and he doesn’t have many friends who don’t play sports.

Balancing his friends, sports, and school, Johnston thinks high school has brought him a greater sense of maturity. Taking harder classes definitely made him focus on time management, making him more independent. Johnston was able to prioritize his academics and athletics, and he learned when it is time to get work done, he must be serious about it. Surprisingly, being a student-athlete his entire life, Johnston does not plan on continuing his soccer career in college.

“I made the decision to not play a sport in college. I feel like I could have tried to get coaches to look at me, but I was never sure I wanted to. I will just do intramural sports or club sports. For academics, I have interest in states schools, but a lot of my family is from Boston, so I’m trying to get into Boston College, or Boston University. If I could get into one of those that would be the dream. I’m definitely looking at schools up North too. Major wise, I’m kind of lost, but I’m between engineering or business,” Johnston explained.

Although playing at the collegiate level is not in Johnston’s future plans, he’s not sure what he would do if he couldn’t play a sport throughout his  life. Sportsmanship is one of the many positives Johnston will take with him in the future from his athletic experiences. Off the soccer field, good sportsmanship still carries through Johnston’s mind as he interacts with people everyday. Almost how everyone is going to use different skills to make their game on the field unique, Johnston understands everyone is different in life. This understanding of life and sportsmanship, is what makes Johnston an admirable person.

“Having a competitive mentality and a will to want to succeed will most definitely carry on throughout my life. Whatever career path I end up following, this mindset will help me want to strive to be better and be successful,” said Johnston.