With any successful high school athlete, popularity and local fame follows. Being noticed and celebrated in the hallways by one’s peers is a unique experience to say the least. How an individual handles the added attention is crucial to how life plays out moving forward.
Far too many athletes let success consume them. They forget what it was like to be the new player on the team and what it was like to struggle. They begin to feel that everything revolves around them and humility goes out the door. Yet what is to be said about those individuals who handle the attention respectfully, knowing that it is not just about them but the team as a whole? Impressive does not even begin to describe the character and nature of Pine View’s Steve “Baby Bang” Bangerter, a gentleman in every sense of the word.
Preparation is an absolute when playing sports. If you don’t train or practice, you don’t win. It’s as simple as that. What holds true in preparation for sports carries over to academics as well. You don’t study and do the work designed to help you learn, you fail. There is no getting around it, and this is something Steve has fully embraced as a student athlete. “I know I want to play college sports, so I am also focusing on my classes. I am taking Math, English, Spanish 4, and a few electives. Hopefully, my grades help, and I can get offered a scholarship to play in college.”
Fully understanding that he may be forgoing immediate opportunities to play at the collegiate level, Steve’s personal commitment to serve a mission for his LDS faith is an extension of who he is. “I know I am going to serve a mission for my church, and I will go wherever I am called to serve.” Serving others is a big part of who Steve’s giving personality. The young man sets examples that even those who are not his peers can learn from. “If I am not doing a good turn daily, I have wasted the day.”
Being the youngest of six boys, Steve acknowledges the household is full of a competitive spirit. Growing up watching his older brothers play sports, he sought to build on what he learned from them. “They have laid out a really good foundation for me,” he says. “We are really close too, always playing together in the back yard. I have a lot of fun playing with them.”
Preparing to walk out onto the hardwood for the last time as a Panther, Steve makes no excuses and expects nothing less than his very best. Committed to make every moment count, Steve takes full advantage of every opportunity his coaches provide for his squad. “We know we will have a full day. We shoot for a few hours everyday, except game days, from about 6:00pm to 8:00pm. We have film after that for an hour and then our practice goes for about two hours after that. We go for at least four hours every day to get better.”
A successful sport’s season does not get any better than competing in and winning a State Championship. “The way our team won last year; all of our games were super close.” With his calm demeanor, Steve recounts an experience he has come to cherish. “It took a whole lot of team effort. It was super fun the whole week. We had eight seniors last year, and so, we had real good leadership. They, and our coaches, did a great job at helping keep all of the younger guys focused throughout the week.”
Steven Bangerter, Steve’s father, says of his son’s junior year, “It had been a very competitive season with games against Dixie, Desert Hills, and Snow Canyon. All of Region 9 is so tough. Each of the teams, they are so evenly matched. Every game in the finals was tough.”
“I THINK, I WOULD SAY, EVERYONE BUYING INTO THE PROGRAM, PLAYING THEIR ROLES, AND BELIEVING IN WHAT THE COACHES LAID OUT FOR US WAS KEY.”
“When you have that may seniors on the team at the same time,” Susan, Steve’s mother, shares, “you have a very defined role coming off of the bench, and Steve played well within that role. I think that was a good experience for him as far as basketball goes.”
While most competitive athletes shutter at the thought of filling a spot as a roll player and coming off the bench, it can be powerful learning experience if treated that way. Steve has displayed an incredible level of maturity having gone through the experience himself. “I think, I would say, everyone buying into the program, playing their roles, and believing in what the coaches laid out for us was key. Us knowing that our senior leadership was there for us helped a lot too. It’s just one play at a time. You never know with basketball because the game is so fast, and the crowd is right there cheering, so it all comes down to focus. You have to be in the right mindset and be ready to fill your roll on the team.”
Recalling when he had to fill some pretty large shoes in a game against Dixie, Steve again shares respect for what he has learned from his teammates and coaches, which helped prepare him for when his moment would come. “Kody Wilstead, our huge post player, fouled out with about five minutes left, and Cody Ruesch was injured with a broken tibia right before the playoffs, so I went in. It was kind of scary at the time. I was guarding Hawes and Guymon the rest of the game. They are two of Dixie’s great players, so I think being able to learn from my teammates and coaches and learn from what Kody was doing, studying him on the floor, prior to me going in. That was big for me.”
What you don’t hear from Steve is that the defensive intensity continued when Steve entered the game. Pine View continued on without losing a step. The real concept taught by the coaching staff of buying into the program and working as a team would pay off. Pine View would take down the net and fill it’s trophy case with evidence of a well earned team effort.
“I know I am going to serve a mission for my church, and I will go wherever I am called to serve.If I am not doing a good turn daily, I have wasted the day.“
Steve is an incredible young man and has been taught well. Who he is certainly is a reflection of his upbringing. What adds to the dynamic of who Steve is though is the additional help and support offered to him by his various coaches and teammates. “Coach Larsen and Coach Hosner are both huge on service, and I love how interested they are in who we are. Coach Hosner will always talk to us and just ask us how our lives are and how school is going. They both teach us and help us to learn how to be good young man and how to carry ourselves. They are really good at teaching boys how to become men, not just in sports.”
Knowing he will miss the relationships with his teammates and coaches when his time as a Panther is done, Steve reflects on the lessons he would hope to impart to his teammates and that they carry with them after graduation. “Enjoy the little moments,” Steve says. “Do not take for granted the long practices, the road trips, or the difficult games. Always have a good attitude and show that you are enjoying life.” • HSSI