The Herbsters are big fans of ‘The Office.’
Brothers and sister alike can quote large chunks of the popular show.
But right now, one particular quote sticks with Ben Herbster, the second of the four children and a senior at Cumberland Valley.
“Andy Bernard states, ‘I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them,’” Herbster said.
Those words, from a mockumentary about a paper company in Scranton, resonate with him and his youngest two siblings, Nate and Jenna. All three were set to enjoy a once-in-their-lifetime year with all three playing varsity lacrosse for the Eagles.
The coronavirus pandemic robbed the family of the opportunity.
Ben was supposed to play with younger brother and sophomore Nate, while freshman Jenna, also a field hockey player, was supposed to play with the girls varsity team this season. It was supposed to be the only season the three would see varsity playing time together.
“Having all of my siblings in sports at the same time has always been a crazy, hectic part of my family’s life, but having the opportunity to play varsity lacrosse alongside my brother, and having a sister also on varsity, would have been amazing,” Nate said. “This could have made for some wonderful stories to tell and also a great experience.”
“I would have really enjoyed knowing that we could all participate in the same sport,” Jenna said.
Passing it down
As a family of lacrosse players, there has been a lot of support from older siblings, even oldest brother, Josh, who is a sophomore track and field athlete at Shippensburg University. A thrower, he finished 11th in the shot put and 12th in the weight throw during the indoor PSAC Championships before the pandemic ended the collegiate season.
The sports may be different, but there is still room for life lessons or just being a good role model from the oldest Herbster sibling.
“Josh has certainly influenced me all throughout my sports career,” Nate said. “Seeing him break records in track and field throughout high school and succeed in his schooling were always things I looked up to. I see his love for the sport of track, and that always keeps me motivated to stay persistent with lacrosse.”
“He certainly made me tougher when we were younger because we could never get along very well,” said Ben, who shares an interest in hunting and fishing with Josh. “As we got older he always looked out for me and had my back. I admire his ability to work hard and earn everything he has.”
Jenna and Nate need to look no further than Ben for their role model, who has always been there when the two needed advice or someone to stand in net and help them practice their shots.
But before COVID-19 shut down all sports in the country, Ben was seriously considering not playing his final season of high school lacrosse. He wanted to focus on preparing for his training and studies at the Air National Guard.
“I was focused on preparing for the military and had little motivation to be a human meat shield stopping shots from going into the goal,” Ben said. “However, those around me, including my parents, convinced me that it was my responsibility as a captain and senior to play one more season.”
Add in a little bickering here and there and you’ve got a quintessential sports sibling dynamic.
“There’s an unspoken rivalry that comes with being siblings,” Ben said. “In [Nate and I’s] case we don’t exchange words, but it burns awful bad when your younger brother scores on you and it’s the best feeling when you stop one of his shots.”
“His role as a captain this year showed me the importance of leadership and how to go about leading a young team, which I hope to do in the future,” Nate said. “Of course, there is conflict here and there as there is with all brothers, but when we step onto the field we put all of the small arguments aside and work together.”
“Both of my older brothers have definitely been mentors to me,” Jenna said. “They both made varsity freshman year which taught me that if I worked hard I would also earn my spot.”
Always next year
Although the 2020 season is lost and three siblings won’t play together at the same time, all three still have new seasons to look forward to. Nate will start his junior season with the CV lacrosse team and Jenna will start her sophomore season.
There’s a lot to look forward to.
“If there is one thing I have learned from all of this, it is that you will never know how great something is until it is gone,” Nate said. “Next season, I am going to take every weightlifting session, team bonding event and practice like it’s the last because you never know when it could be taken away.”
“I am excited to meet new people and be able to spend lots of time with the team,” Jenna said. “I am ready to push myself to a new level and constantly work hard.”
Ben, meanwhile, will focus on his studies when he begins his first year with the Air National Guard in the coming months.
“The military has roots in my family heritage, and I am excited to finally be a part of that legacy,” he said. “It’s something I knew I was destined for from a young age and have worked extremely hard for.”
All three of them know that losing the season isn’t the end of the world.
Email Mallory at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @MalloryMerda