Feb. 3—PLATTSBURGH — Everyone has that one moment in sports they can remember. The moment your team won a championship, that time you made a hole in one or while watching your child cross a milestone.
Those are special moments.
Aiden Pearl has had many of those special moments, crossing milestone after milestone during his time at Seton Catholic. But to him, they were just moments in time.
"In the grand scheme of things, it's just one moment," Pearl said. "And there's quite a few great moments playing sports.
"I think every game there's good moments at every practice. Just to be around the team and play in front of the fans. There's always great moments, whether it's when you reach a big milestone or it's just an ordinary game."
From 100 points in soccer to 1,000 points and rebounds in basketball, Pearl acknowledges the accomplishments. Without hesitation he mentions he did not do it alone.
"I'm just really grateful to have great coaches," Pearl said. "I've had to be able to play with great players.
"So I've had great players come before me, who just help inspire my game and give me motivation to keep working."
WELL BEYOND HIS YEARS
Christopher Burdash, Youth Director of the YMCA in Plattsburgh, loves to share a story of Pearl during his time with him.
"One time I asked Aiden if he knew anyone who could help with the soccer league," Burdash said. "It didn't take long. Aiden gave me a list of names and numbers of who to call and speak with.
"Not only that, but he personally spoke to each of them to see if they were interested. He always goes that extra mile with no questions asked."
Burdash coached him during Aiden's sophomore year when Seton Catholic merged with Peru in soccer. Additionally, Pearl has helped with the YMCA's Youth Soccer League for the past several years.
"He's well beyond his years of age," Burdash said. "If I looked into a crystal ball, I'd simply see a successful life for him.
"I wish I would have been able to coach his entire high school career because you don't get many like him that come along."
Even without knowing Aiden, one can get this idea of him by simply watching him play sports. He's never one to just stand idly by and wait for his turn. He's one that stays vocal and acts as a coach on the field.
"I definitely take pride in being vocal like I've been blessed to have great coaches," Pearl said. "And so to kind of extend that experience on to newer players.
"I definitely don't hesitate to use my voice and get our team motivated."
It extends well beyond the playing field, as evidenced by Burdash. Pearl excels in the classroom as well, as he earned a near perfect score on the SAT.
"For me, school always comes first," he said. "Definitely being an athlete, sometimes there's challenges with that, but I enjoy that we have great teachers here.
"So I love to learn from them, and get engaged in the different classes and just put the work into doing well in school."
His twin sister, Abby Pearl described him as an extremely hardworking and determined person.
"From the moment he starts something he invests all his effort and time into that thing," she said. "Whether it's his academic pursuits, professional endeavors, athletics or extracurriculars, Aiden is always driven and disciplined.
"He is also always very busy with extracurricular activities."
OUR GREATEST SUPPORTERS
Oftentimes the one most people are competitive with, are their siblings. It may simply be for fun, but when a competition is on the line, all bets are off.
Except if you're the Pearl twins.
"We're probably the greatest supporters of each other and we'll be the first to support each other," Aiden said. "Maybe a little competition here and there, some board games or something. But usually it's pretty tame."
Aiden and Abby have typically played the same sports while at Seton Catholic, most notably soccer where they both earned Northern Soccer League Division II First Team All-Star selections this past season.
Watching Aiden pass those milestones has been an incredible experience for Abby to witness.
"Being there to support and celebrate those achievements with him creates a strong bond," she said. "We are each other's biggest supporters which make the victories we get even more meaningful.
"Knowing that your brother has your back, and I have his in both successes and setbacks is a source of comfort and motivation for both of us."
In the coming months, Aiden and Abby Pearl will be going separate ways for the first time in 18 years. Abby says while change will be hard, the distance will not be too far.
"Being a twin we obviously have a close bond," she said. "Going different paths after high school will definitely be hard and will be a significant change in our lives.
"Although it will be different being apart, we will still keep in touch to help each other and talk. But I know he will always be a phone call, drive or flight away!"
NOT A ONE MAN THING
In the coming months, Aiden will walk across the stage to receive his diploma at Seton Catholic.
Time certainly does fly.
"I just hope to enjoy (my time left)," Aiden said. "Once I started here, there was a speech the first day about how you're going to be here for the next whatever, six, seven years, and it's just going to fly by and with only a couple of months left.
"Certainly feeling that and so just going to try and make a positive impact here and enjoy my last couple of months."
In the fall, he'll be attending Notre Dame University on a full academic scholarship in the ROTC program.
Aiden Pearl said a lot of his family have gone there is one of the bigger reasons he chose Notre Dame.
Regardless of the hard work he does on the court, the field, the track or especially the classroom, he maintains a calm, cool and grounded demeanor.
"I think recognizing that there's so many great people around you and so many people who have helped me along the way (stay grounded)," Aiden said. "It's definitely not a one man thing.
"I have amazing support from my family. and from my community. I'm eternally grateful."
And he's learned from the examples before him to be the man he's growing into today.
"It's impossible to not learn something from him," Burdash said. "Just by listening to him or or watching him play or watching him in practice. It's just amazing."
COULDN'T ASK FOR MORE
Sports mean a lot to Aiden Pearl, so much that he knows he'll be involved in them in some form in college, whether it be intramural or club.
"I love to compete but also like the memories from it and all the moments I've developed so much from sports, leadership wise," he said, "And as a person, and I've also just had such an enjoyable experience.
"Like everyday just in the locker room and being around my friends and working towards a common goal. I really can't ask for much more."
Of the many things he's able to do, one thing he can't do is pick one memory that stands out over the other.
"I'd say there's definitely a ton," Aiden said. "Winning sectionals for basketball my sophomore year is definitely one of them. Then this past year at States, setting a school record in the 4x800 relay with my friends is definitely another highlight. Really, there's just too many memories in between to pick just one."
To you Aiden, but to someone else they're special.
"He's a senior playing with a lot of the younger kids," Burdash said. "Those kids are going to look back when they're junior and senior and say, 'Wow, the things that I learned when I played my freshman year with Aiden Pearl, how it has helped me become a better player and a better person.'
"That's the kind of kid Aiden Pearl is."