Eric Van Sambeek is a 16-year-old junior at MHS and the son of Brendan and Lynn Van Sambeek. He has been a member of the golf team for four years. Eric sounds like an avid golfer when he says he regrets not starting as a seventh grader, because it would have given him one more year to improve. But, as is often the story, Eric didn’t choose golf, golf chose him. After he had picked up a golf club for the first time, his dad asked him how he liked it, and Eric replied, “Well, I liked driving the golf cart.” But as Ben Hogan said, “The most important shot in golf, is the next one.” Eric kept playing.
He says he realized football wasn’t for him, and because he had two friends on the golf team -Logan Meyer and Chris Peery- he decided to give it a try. “I thought I might as well do a fall sport and hang out with my friends, but what got me hooked, was the more I played, the better I got.”
One of the highlights of his golf career also involved his friend Chris. Eric says, “We were in a putting competition. Chris one-putted, and in order for me to go on, I had to tie him. I looked at the ball and the hole and knew I had to hit it perfect. I hit it, and the ball trickled right into the hole. That was a good feeling.”
This season, he says, started off physically challenging. “I had never walked 18 holes, and Coach Keeton told me I was going to play varsity. The first week, we had back-to-back meets and that kind of kicked my butt.”
Eric says he also enjoys the mental challenge of golf and compares it to FFA, which he also has been involved in since the eighth grade. “FFA is based on your personal characteristics more than anything else.” This year, Eric is the president of the Milbank FFA chapter and a member of three FFA teams – parliamentary procedures with the senior officers, ag issues, and nursery and landscaping.
He also participates in theatre, choir, and band. His favorite classes are US history and woodshop. He actively serves at St. Lawrence Catholic Church and will be declared a Eucharistic Minister on October 11. He has made youth group trips to Steubenville three times and says, “I plan to keep going.”
Eric also finds time to work at Berens Warehouse Groceries, play Minecraft, go out to eat with friends, mow the large yard at home with his dad, and read. His favorite book series is the Maze Runner. He says, “It’s a future dystopia-type science fiction series full of adventure and mystery.”
After graduation, he is considering attending Lake Area Technical Institute to obtain degrees in automotive technology and business management. His dad is the co-owner of Twin Valley Tires, and Eric has hopes of returning to Milbank to work alongside him.
Photo courtesy of VPD Studio