Nick Stare was just beginning his sophomore year at Red Lion High School when he had a life-changing moment.
"One day, when I went into class, I barely could see," Stare recalled. "I was taken to the nurse's office, and then to the hospital. I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. It was the day before Halloween."
Because his body can't produce insulin, Stare has to give himself shots four times a day — at meal times and before going to bed.
"I go to the nurse's office at lunch time," he said. "I pick a spot (where to inject himself), stomach, leg, arm."
Stare, now a junior, is attending classes on a regular basis, along with playing sports (soccer and tennis), but that wasn't the case last year.
"I was absent a lot last year, and I missed a lot of classes and matches getting things under control" he said following Red Lion's non-league tennis match against Hershey on Thursday.
Stare didn't return to classes at Red Lion until the second semester of this year. He took classes through a cyber school in the first semester.
"It felt good to come back here," he said. "I missed being with my teammates."
Stare began the season playing No. 5 singles for the Lions this spring, but he moved up to No. 4 when a teammate moved out of the district. After winning a three-set match on Wednesday against Central, Stare bowed in two sets to Hershey's Michael Lewis on Thursday. A trainer checked on Stare during the second set, but he completed the match.
"He took a little bit of a break against Dallastown, and other coaches are fine with him taking a break, but he doesn't want to take a break," Red Lion assistant coach Jeff Fix said. "That first winter and spring after he was diagnosed, Nick missed a lot of school, and when he was here playing, he didn't look healthy. There were circles under his eyes."
Fix has watched Stare get better off and on the court.
"He's by far the most improved player on the team," Fix said.
Stare's bonded with his teammates, especially Charlie Flaharty, who also was diagnosed with Type I diabetes.
"We both know what we're going through, and we can take care of each other," Flaharty said. "I was diagnosed when I was 5, and my sister was diagnosed when she was 3."
Stare's father, Dwayne Stare, said his son is 100 percent better than he was last year.
"Last year was kind of a lost year for him with school and tennis," Dwayne Stare said. "He's having a good year this year. He enjoys this (playing on the tennis team) more than just about anything. Who knows? Maybe technology can develop something where he won't have to give himself shots every day."
Dwayne's father and Nick's grandfather, Walt Stare, has Type II diabetes. His body produces insulin but not enough.
"When we (Walt and his wife, Beverly) heard about Nick, we were hoping he could handle it. We were worried it would get him down, but he's handled it well," Walt Stare said. "It's something he'll have the rest of his life unless they come up with a cure."
Nick Stare handled it well when told he had Type I diabetes.
"I guess I was relieved, it wasn't something too big, although I wasn't happy about it," he said.
OTHER BOYS' TENNIS
Dallastown 7, Spring Grove 0: At Spring Grove, the Wildcats rolled behind straight-set singles wins from John Schmitt, Tyler Lilie, Hunter Jones, Sachin Venkatesh and David Trimmer. Jones and Venkatesh also teamed to win No. 1 doubles. The Wildcats (11-3 overall) finished York-Adams Division I action at 7-1.
West York 5, Northeastern 2: At Manchester, the Bulldogs got straight-set wins from Jared Potts, Ben Fairlamb, Aidan Mikula and Noah Sanderson in singles and a doubles victory from the team of Mikula and Tim Pickard to defeat the Bobcats. Josiah Burke won both his No. 1 singles match and teamed with Collin Wunsch to win No. 1 doubles for Northeastern.
Correction: The date of the Central York-South Western boys' tennis match was reported incorrectly in Thursday's Dispatch. The match is Friday at South Western.
— Reach Dick VanOlinda at email@example.com.