Serra sophomore Ryu McGee-Burge enjoys customizing shoes (Courtesy photo)

Competing in travel ball helped prepare Serra sophomore Ryu McGee-Burge for junior varsity baseball during his freshman year.

“It wasn’t anything new to me besides the game speed,” McGee-Burge said. “I noticed that the game speed, it moves way faster than little league obviously. But it wasn’t that much of a change besides the game speed.”

McGee-Burge has been involved with travel ball since he was eight years old. Competing in travel ball helps athletes maintain their skills in between high school baseball seasons, according to McGee-Burge.

“It makes sure that you’re not slacking, so you’ll always have something to do,” he said. “The more you practice, the better person you will become in baseball.”

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McGee-Burge normally is a second baseman or shortstop, but he once had to play at other positions, like third baseman and catcher, for the sake of the team. He noted how learning how to play multiple positions correctly was a challenge.

“I always like being where I was because I know how good I was at that position,” McGee-Burge said. “I had to start thinking about not only myself but thinking about winning with the team and helping them out.”

To improve on his skills as a catcher, he watches Serra’s varsity baseball catcher compete and watches MLB baseball games. He also reaches out to get help.

“A lot of it is asking questions to catchers that I knew or asking coaches for help if I need to,” McGee-Burge said.

Student athletes must not only excel in both their athletics and academics, but they must have good morals outside of school, according to McGee-Burge.

“I feel like the student athlete is a person that can do as good on the field and do good as a student,” he said. “To me, it’s not all about getting good grades, it’s about doing what’s right in and out of school.”

Ryu’s favorite class is his religion class (Courtesy photo)

McGee-Burges battles the rigors of being a student athlete by being disciplined.

“I feel like most athletes can agree with me when I say when you come home, especially if you’re coming at a later time, no one wants to sit down and do homework,” he said. “That’s when we have to discipline ourselves into doing our homework or studying.”

McGee-Burges’ favorite class is his religion class. From that class, he learned that tomorrow is not promised.

“Try to build your connection with God as much as you can,” he said. “Because one day it will be too late if you know that you’re living your whole life not doing what’s right.”

Outside of his obligations at school, McGee-Burges enjoys playing basketball and football with his friends. He also likes to customize shoes.

“I just got this random thought in my head to customize these shoes and that was back when Kobe passed away,” McGee-Burges said. “I made some shoes dedicated to him. I’m not gonna lie, they were ugly, but that was my first real customization.”