Hughes absorbs life lessons on the lacrosse field

Hard work and perseverance top the list.

Max Hughes has an affinity for the culture and tradition of Mercer Island lacrosse.

For the last 13 years, the Mercer Island High School (MIHS) senior athlete has lived and breathed lacrosse. His unwavering passion for the game literally bounces out of his voice while discussing the Islanders’ stellar season and his career as a whole.

The MIHS squad is 17-4 overall heading into the semifinals of the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association 3A state playoffs on May 24.

“It’s not only just a sport on Mercer Island, it’s about a family. You bond and your teammates become your best friends. It teaches you a lot of life lessons, like hard work, how to persevere. I’ve been through a lot of injuries and the program has just been very supportive of me through that whole time,” said Hughes, who also coaches the boys third- and fourth-graders within the Island program.

With unlimited youthful energy bursting out of his being, Hughes headed to the lacrosse field as a kindergartner and began his journey of speed, agility, stick skills and more. He’s also played football, baseball and soccer over the years, but he currently has put his stamp on lacrosse and snow skiing.

Possessing a 5-foot-11, 190-pound frame, Hughes plays midfielder and captains the team alongside fellow seniors Max Youssefnia and Emmitt Hasenoehrl, who also play in the middy realm. MIHS initiates its offense through the midfield and packs a solid one-on-one game into its playbook.

Hughes knows that he leads the team with a multitude of goals this season, but has chosen not to glance at the exact amount because he doesn’t want to psych himself out, he said. He wants to be surprised with the final number at season’s end.

When the fall rolls around, Hughes will be attending the University of Colorado Boulder, where he hopes to study business and play club lacrosse.

The Reporter asked Hughes a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?

I think it’s something both my parents tell me, and they say it in a lot of different ways. I’m sure a lot of other parents tell their kids this, too, but it’s really stuck with me the past year, just them saying that, ‘Whatever you do, be you. Be a humble person, be a good person, work hard at what you do and believe that you are good enough.’

What’s something that you’re afraid of that you’d like to conquer?

I think for me this has been an uphill battle and something I’ve been working on a lot. I was a super shy kid and I always had trouble speaking to other people and speaking in public. And even now it makes me nervous when I have to go speak in front of large groups or do an interview, and that’s something I’ve been working hard to overcome and I think that will just come with time. Opportunities like these I’m very grateful for because it gives me a chance to put myself out there and to work on something that does not come so natural.

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

Recently I’ve been getting into stoicism a lot and reading some stuff on that, and I think going to dinner with Marcus Aurelius. (He) would be a really cool person to talk to, get insight from and just listen to.

If you’re having a bad day, how do you break out of that and turn it in your favor?

I’m a big music guy, so I think putting on the right song, just putting on my headphones and just being with myself, whether that be sitting outside in nature or in my room. Just listening to music, jamming out, it can really turn my day around. Right now I’m a big Mac DeMarco fan, so anything from him I think would get my day going. I also like Mt. Joy. Just depends on the day.