WXXV Student Athlete of the Week: St. Patrick Eighth Grader Donnie Handler
This week’s WXXV Student Athlete of the Week is eighth-grader Donnie Handler, a fighter and heart warrior who has an inspiring story to tell.
Donnie Handler is an eighth grader at St. Patrick Catholic High School where he is a member of the middle school baseball team.
He has played on a diamond since he was three-years-old, but most recently he was introduced to his favorite sport: hockey.
Being a member of the Junior Sea Wolves team, Handler is thankful for the opportunity to play on the rink at a young age. “It’s very rare. I like that I have the utilities to play the game that I love, and I’m so grateful and blessed.”
Of course, playing two sports at once doesn’t come easy, but Handler says it has taught him how to work hard and stay disciplined. “I’ve taught myself to be disciplined and that I can’t just really go on my own. I need somebody to help me out, and that you need to practice, you need to work hard, and it doesn’t just all come to you.”
Not only is he a firm believer that practice makes perfect, but he also realizes how important it is to lift up and encourage his teammates both on the ice and the field. St. Patrick Middle School Head Baseball Coach Marshall Parrish said, “He brings a lot of energy and he keeps everybody in the game all the time. When he does something great everybody’s really happy and proud and all the guys start getting after him, cheering and messing with him and telling him how good he did.”
His high energy and constant positivity are a beautiful testimony because life threw him a curve ball at a very young age. “When I was around two months old, I had open heart surgery, and I was born with four holes in my heart. When I was little, everything was hard from when I was born to about one year old.”
But instead of dwelling on the past, he uses it as motivation to be the best that he can be. “He’s able to come out here and play with us every day, and he’s also doing the hockey thing with the Sea Wolves. It’s great to see him out and about just keeping his head up. He never complains about anything and he does what he asks us to do, and just keeps his head up all the time.”
Handler is a true fighter and heart warrior and he hopes to use his personal testimony to help others get through hard times. “I feel like I’m very blessed to have the things I have and I feel like God is there for me and he’s watching over me to see what I can do and what good things He can do for me and others.”