Examples And Signs Everywhere

Photo by Robert Hoppie ASPPix.com

Guidance, inspiration and those sweet tender mercies knowing that someone is watching over you come in many forms. For some, it could be a kind act by someone you may or may not know, for others it can be a kind word and for Pine View senior and Lady Panther, Kambria Johnston, it comes in each of those ways as well as a number.

Pine View Class of 2017 Soccer 3.9GPA

Making sure not to take short cuts along the way, the academic schedule she has set for herself builds off her junior year. Taking AP and Honors courses to challenge herself she hopes to pursue education as a profession or even perhaps go into the dental field. “I really love kids so I think it would be cool to become a pre-school teacher but I’d also like to be a Dental Hygienist. Not only do I find dentistry interesting but because there have been several dentists who have said things to me that have helped me in my life and so I have just always wanted to do that.”

As the middle child in the line of the Johnston family household Kambria clearly looks up to her older brothers and is grateful for the example they set for her in her life of putting their faith and family first. “My oldest brother just got back from his mission in Argentina and my other brother just left on his mission to Bolivia. It is really cool. They are great examples to me.” Two more follow after Kambria, a younger sister, and a younger brother who passed away as a baby. Speaking reverently of the experience Kambria displays a strength and faith few will truly identify with, “He would be six right now, but it’s good, it was a special experience.”

Down from a group of 15 to 6 seniors and one junior due to a few moving, this tight core of veteran’s returning to the squad know they have a great group of girls coming up. This gives Johnston an opportunity she is excited about. “I got lucky and was voted as the captain and once that happened I knew I had to step up,” she states. “I think the main thing I have been trying to do is follow what other successful teams have done and make sure that every player feel important and that they know they have value. We all feel like one big family and serve each other, not just be their friend during soccer but to spend time together and hang out.”

The approach and team focus of embracing one another as family and seeing the value in one another is something that Kambria is not only grateful for but something that she credits the current success the team is experiencing in the pre-season. “A lot of girls this season have been struggling with their confidence making the transition to varsity, and having started varsity as a freshman I know what they feel like and what they are going through. Just being able talk with them to build them up, it’s been a lot of fun and helping the team. I am glad I have been able to be a part of that.”

The key to being a good leader is having the right influences in your life to help make it so. Kambria considers herself very fortunate to have such mentors to look to that help set the example for her of how to lead. “Our coach, Kenize, she is a very good coach. She really pushes us to make sure we are ready and in shape for the year. We have lots of drills to make sure we have good footwork and develop a good touch.”

Photo by Robert Hoppie ASPPix.com

Like any talented athlete Kambria has had several opportunities to learn the sport and remembers one coach that still impacts her play years later. “I also had a soccer trainer, Jon Mucci, who trained me a few years ago and that was when I really starting to get serious about soccer,” she remembers. “That’s when I really started to love the sport and begin practicing more on my own. His training really paid off because I was able to play varsity as a freshman and that was awesome.”

Kambria’s older brother Braden has also been a tremendous influence on her game. Ranked as the number 2 midfielder in the state Kambria has created for herself a deliberate reminder of how to play her game. “I write Braden’s initials on my wrist before the game and whenever I play I look at my wrist and see his initials and think I need to step it up and play like Braden. He is such an example of how good he was and how hard he worked.”

Sharing a personal note from her brother Braden while he was on his mission to Argentina, Kambria reflects often on the confidence and support her brother shared from thousands of miles away. “He wrote me a note and the one sentence I like the most he said, ‘I know you can be the best because you are the best’ and because he believed in me it really gave me confidence and it is something that I read to prepare mentally for every game.” Here until January before he goes off to BYU, Kambria is excited to have her older brother and example watch her play her final season as a Panther. “It’s so nice to have him home, I love him.”

Photo by Robert Hoppie ASPPix.com

The learning beyond the sport is something too many athletes fail to realize for themselves. Caught up on the technical aspects, the fundamentals, they can sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture. Kambria however has learned to see past the game, to take what she has learned and applied it to other areas of her life. “I feel that learning to work hard in soccer will be good for me. It’s why I like it. It’s a good lesson to learn that things don’t come easy and you have to work hard but also knowing that people are watching out for you.”

Expressing what impresses her most about her daughter, Mardee Johnston states, “Kambria’s self-motivation and drive to continually be her “best self,” along with her happy, optimistic attitude while accomplishing it.” Mardee continues, “She understands who she is, the potential that she has, and the part that she plays in life and uses her experiences and opportunities to grow, improve and become a better person.”

“It has been a pleasure watching her develop the characteristics she has,” says father, Jed. “She has a way to make others feel valuable and has a huge heart for those that may be challenged in any way. I have been impressed with this type of love and charity that she has for others.”

Faith and family is central to everything she does in life. Kambria knows that as long as she holds to her faith and family the tender mercies of life will always be a reminder to her that she is loved and watched over. For the Johnston family, and what they’ve gone through, that idea is ever more personal. “My younger brother Zach who passed away, I put his initials on my wrist as well. When I see that I know he is watching over me and it motivates me to work hard. I wear the #39 for a very specific reason. It’s our family’s number really, because Zach was 39hrs and 39min old when he passed away and my dad was 39 at the time. Zach’s gravesite happened to be 39 and there have been so many times in family situations where that number comes up and it’s one of those tender mercies and signs that he is watching over us.”

As for who is it that Kambria hopes to become, with a sense of humility she answers, “I am trying to become someone who is charitable and gives service, someone who is kind to others and trying to just be like Christ. He is my greatest example.” • HSSI