So many athletes at Falmouth High School did not get their final seasons of play. Callie Shank is another standout FHS senior that should have been able to don the maroon and white for a final few months, but had it taken away from her. Callie was named captain of the girls’ tennis team and was set to lead them to a fine year on the hardcourts.
The daughter of Leslie and Tim Shank is a strong student at FHS who is very much into art. She’s a member of most of the honor societies, including the National Honor Society, the Science Honor Society, Math Honor Society and Art Honor Society. Callie earned herself several awards in high school, including the Mass Maritime Educators Marine Art Contest, the Stonehill College Book Award and the varsity tennis team’s Coach’s Award.
She said that her most-prized possession is her cat, named Bear. She works parttime at the Cape Cod Pet Resort.
“Grease” is Callie’s favorite movie and “The Vampire Diaries” is her favorite TV show. She’s a big fan of the music of Bryce Vine. Her go-to meal is pesto pasta with cheesy broccoli, garlic bread and a seltzer, followed by her mom’s homemade brownies.
How did you get involved with tennis? How much do you enjoy it?
I decided to play tennis my freshman year because I wanted to try something new. I had never played before but decided to try out anyway. I made the team and at first it was a struggle learning the game, but now I am glad I did. It is a game I love and a game I know I will be able to play throughout my lifetime.
What went through your mind when you found out that your senior year had been canceled?
At first I was shocked, and to be honest, I think I am still in denial. It is definitely a huge disappointment knowing all the events my class is missing out on.
As a senior this year, what did you see your role on the team being?
I saw myself as being a leader on the team this year, playing first doubles like I have in the past, or even singles.
Tennis is both a very individual-based game, and a team game. Do you prefer playing doubles or singles? Why?
In the past I have played mostly doubles, but occasionally was moved to singles for a match. They are very different games that take different mindsets. With singles, you only have yourself to rely on but also don’t have the pressure of letting a teammate down. However, I prefer to play doubles because I like the comfort of having a partner and battling it out together.
Away from the courts, you’re also involved in horseback riding. How did that come about, and how much time do you spend on that?
When I was about eight years old I begged my mom to stop by the local horse farm and ask if I could take lessons. From there it bega
n and I have been horseback riding since. For the last ten years I have been riding 2-3 times a week, minus the occasional vacation.
If you could replay one game that you have played in, which one would it be? Why?
If I could replay one game it would be a game against Sandwich in my junior year. I went to the match thinking I would be playing doubles, but when a teammate didn’t show up I had to be moved up to singles. At this point I didn’t have much experience playing singles and it was nerve-wracking. My opponent and I ended up going into a tiebreaker after splitting sets. It was one of the longest matches I have ever played, but eventually I won, which was a really great feeling.
What do you consider the highlight of your athletic career so far?
What I consider the highlight of my career happened at Spring Sports Awards Night last year. Our tennis season had ended and my coach was going over the memorable parts of the season. She ended up awarding me with the Coaches Award. She spoke about how I had been the only player to play in all of the matches, and receiving the award made me feel accomplished for the hard work I had put into the season.
Who is the best teammate that you’ve ever played with? What makes that person stand out?
The best teammate I have played with would have to be Melanie Rosenblatt. We tried out together in our freshman year and continued to play together on varsity as partners in doubles. We learned how to work together well and one of the best things about Melanie is her way of staying positive even when we were struggling in a match together. Her intensity matched mine well and I appreciated having her as a teammate.
Do you have any sports-related superstitions? If so, what are they?
I am not a very superstitious person, however there are some habits I have while playing in a match, such as bouncing the ball a certain amount of times before serving and tapping racquets between points with my partner while playing doubles.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from playing sports?
Tennis can be a very taxing game that takes a lot of concentration. One important thing to do in tennis is to keep your mind clear while playing and not let frustration get to you. Tennis has taught me how to control my emotions and keep myself calm in intense situations.
Who has been your inspiration?
My parents inspire me to always work and try as hard as I can. They have taught me to push through when times are hard and I appreciate that.
Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
I would like to thank my family for their overwhelming support in all of my endeavors. They often came to my matches to cheer me on, especially my mom. She would drive an hour to Nauset just to see me play, which I am grateful for. They hope for me to succeed in all aspects of my life, but with any failure are always there when I need them.
When quarantine life is over, what is the thing you are most looking forward to doing?
When quarantine is over I am most looking forward to spending time with friends. I miss being able to go out to dinner or shopping and not having to worry about a mask and staying away from the people around me.
What’s the biggest difference between you as a senior and as a freshman? If you could go back, what advice would you give to your freshman self?
The biggest difference between me as a freshman and me as a senior is having a better sense of who I am now. High school teaches you a lot about yourself and who you want to be. I am more self aware and confident in what I want in life. If I were to give my freshman self advice it would be to enjoy high school as much as I could and to stop worrying about little things that wouldn’t matter in the years to come. I know now how fleeting and fragile time as a high schooler really is.
What is something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
People may be surprised to learn my favorite animal is a meerkat.
If you could switch places with one person for a week, who would it be and what would you want to do?
I don’t have any specific person I would like to switch places with, however I would want to switch with someone from a foreign country with different standards of living than the United States. I think it would be an enlightening experience to get a first-hand view of how different peoples’ lives are around the world.
Describe your idea of the perfect day
My perfect day would start with getting breakfast at the Village Cafe with my friends. The weather would be beautiful and warm with blue skies. After breakfast we would drive to the beach and spend all day there. After we were all sufficiently crisp, we would go back to my friend Molly’s house and get ready for dinner at Chappy Grill. We would end the day with a bonfire and ice cream from Somerset Creamery.
What are your post high school plans?
I am attending the University of Delaware as an Exercise Science major where I will be studying to eventually be a physical therapist.
Where will you be in 10 years, and what will you be doing?
In ten years I will have hopefully completed my education and will be pursuing my career. I hope I have traveled or am planning to travel around the world or country. I’m not sure where I plan to live or work but hopefully it is somewhere with a nice view.