Sports section provides his favorite reading

Published 3:15 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

By By RANDI K. PICKLEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Pete Brandstatter is a young man with a curious mind. He is in the 11th grade at Niles High School and is this week's Niles Daily Star, Star Student.
Pete is the son of Jane and Patrick Brandstetter and has two brothers, Andy, who is a junior at DePaul University, and Ben, a ninth grader at NHS. His sister, Taylor, is in the fifth grade at Ballard Elementary School.
According to Pete, his parents take an active interest in his welfare. "My mom wanted me to read books on the "college reading list" at the high school. I looked at the list and chose all the books about sports," he said. "I told my teacher that the school should put a sports literature section on the list."
Brandstatter said of his visits to Barnes and Noble Bookstore, "I could spend the entire day in the sports section. When I read those books, I want to get to know the player behind the player."
Brandstetter highly recommends some of his current favorites in the sports literature department. John Feinstein's "The Last Amateur's Patriot League" interested him because it took an inside look at a team, following the team through one sports season. In reading the story, he said, "You get to be that person in the locker room. You get to feel the pain they feel. You see a guy who has to take a big exam just before he has to play the game. I like that approach."
He also suggests reading "The Boys of Winter" by Wayne Coffee, which is about the USA Olympic Team.
Sports is a big focus with Brandstetter. "I'm an avid sports fan," he said. "I especially like collegiate sports. The players aren't getting paid to play and they have a true sense of passion for what they're doing. Throughout the game, they're not focusing on their scholarships or reaching the next achievement level. They're just playing for the love of it."
Brandstatter's major in school is listed as engineering instead of a sports related field, but at this point in time, he said, "I have no career picked out. Writing is fun, history is cool, but I'm not focused on any one thing right now. I'd rather be doing my best to excel at all levels rather than focus on a major."
Although Brandstatter is looking at colleges for the future, he isn't interested in the standard approach. "There's nothing better than a college mascot at a school that is academically tough to get into," he said. He likes Bowdoin College in Maine for that reason. Bowdoin's teams are called the Polar Bears. Brandstatter also likes Colby College who are the White Mules, the Trinity College Bantams, Franklin and Marshall's Diplomats, and Tufts University who is home to the Jumbos. "I like Williams College, too, because they're the Purple Cows" he said. "Wouldn't they would make great T-shirts?" he said.
Brandstatter is looking for a liberal arts school to start his college experiences. "I can get my core classes and still transfer elsewhere when I need to. Liberal arts gives you a solid foundation to go from."
In the meantime, however, he plans to play sports, keep up with his studies, and do what he needs to do to succeed. That includes running for student council and playing sports like football, baseball, and basketball, and running track.
During his 11 years of schooling, Brandstatter has learned some important things. "Be honest. Don't hide anything," he said. "And don't stress over things you can't control. It's what you do that makes you worthwhile."