Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Leadership lived: Basketball player overcomes adversity on and off the court

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball player Zach Steinberg says he’s learned that leadership is not about age, but how you overcome adversity.

He’s faced many challenges not only on the basketball court, but at home. At the age of 11 his father passed away from colon cancer.

“It really taught me and my brother how to grow up fast,” he said. “It was a devastating experience upon the whole family, but it made us all closer and it really taught me to have to be my own man.”

Now he’s living his dream of playing college basketball and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accountancy. He’s also a member of the UIS Student Athlete Advisory Committee, the University Bible Fellowship and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

As part of the men’s basketball team, he regularly volunteers in the community visiting sick children at local hospitals and making appearances at elementary schools.

“I think it’s important to give back because we’re given such a great opportunity playing a sport here,” said Steinberg.

“The kids look up and they want to have the same opportunity we have and to share our abilities with them and telling our story can really help them for the future,” he said.

Following graduation from UIS, Steinberg hopes to continue his basketball career and eventually become an accountant.

“I think (UIS is) everything I wanted it to be and more, honestly,” he said. “Coming into UIS, I knew we’d make connections outside of the school and I knew I’d have great experiences, but I didn’t know it would be this awesome.”

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