Jonas Vander Woude’s love for basketball stretches through all aspects of his life

Sophomore Jonas Vander Woude spends a great quantity of his time in the gym. 

His skills are impressive, especially considering he is the youngest member of the varsity basketball team, and most of his technique and motivation stems from his family members and the relationship he shares with them. 

“Growing up, my grandpa and my dad were both basketball coaches,” Jonas said. “So since I was four or five, I always went to their practices, and I always played; I just kept [up] with [basketball].” 

His grandpa and dad’s coaching helped him get into basketball and now gives him a useful resource for extra help. 

“After every game, I get the low-down on all the things I need to do better,” Jonas said. “So then, I can work on those and try to do them the next game. After every practice, I get asked about how things went, and if I need help with something, I just ask them, and they help me as best as they can.” 

Jonas may thrive off of basketball, but he also has a few other hobbies. 

“I like eating pizza—a lot,” Jonas said. “ I play video games sometimes with my friends—mostly Fortnite—and I don’t really do a lot of stuff that doesn’t involve basketball.” 

Jonas spends plenty of quality time with his friends and his family. One activity he finds himself immersed in is playing board games, such as Monopoly. 

“An average night [looks like this]: I get home, eat some dinner, sometimes with my family,” Jonas said, “and we talk about everything that happened, and on the weekends, sometimes we play some games, like board games, because my family is terrible at video games.” 

Around the end of first semester, Jonas transferred from Grand Rapids Christian to FHC. This led to an abundance of change.

Jonas’ home life hasn’t changed drastically, but his school and basketball life has experienced vast changes. Jonas feels as though his connection to his teammates is stronger at FHC. Though that is viewed as a positive aspect of transferring, the hourly schedule that FHC follows is taking more time to get used to. 

“[Transferring here] was very different,” Jonas said. “The main difference was the schedule. At my old school, we took eight classes, and we had block scheduling, so it was way nicer with homework because we had none—especially with math. Here, I have homework every night, but I’m getting used to it more and more.”

Family and school are very important, but Jonas’ prominent passion lies in basketball, and thankfully, his family is supportive and helps him improve. 

Though his family helped him realize his love of basketball, friendship was his motivation to want to continue playing. He has found a friend in every person on his team regardless of his age. 

“I don’t really think about [the age gap] like that,” Jonas said. “I mean they are still my friends and teammates, but I guess I can kinda see how, physically, I’m not as strong as them, but socially, I don’t think it makes that big of a difference.” 

Moving past the age difference, as the varsity team is composed of juniors and seniors, the team welcomed Jonas and gave him their support right from the beginning. 

They don’t treat me like I’m younger than them, and they’re always encouraging me, even when I miss a lot of shots, and they always try hard every practice and every game.”

— Jonas Vander Woude

Having a connection with the team transfers to how well Jonas plays, and being close to his teammates helps him improve and feel more comfortable on the court. 

“[My teammates] were so nice to me at the beginning,” Jonas said. “It made me feel so much more comfortable, and it just made me feel more at ease. They don’t treat me like I’m younger than them, and they’re always encouraging me, even when I miss a lot of shots, and they always try hard every practice and every game.”