Merriam-Webster defines the word Statesman as “a wise, skillful, and respected leader.”
Ask anyone with the Webster Groves High School Statesmen boys basketball program and that person for the class of 2021 would be Tristen Moore. It’s a name that maybe some haven’t heard, but those who are familiar with the Webster High boys basketball community certainly know of Moore.
As a freshman, he was a part of Webster’s 2017-18 boys basketball state championship team. The future looked very bright for the young guard. Prior to high school, Moore worked hard training and preparing for a future in basketball. He spent springs and summers in the gym, the park, the driveway — wherever he could perfect his craft.
When it came time for high school, Moore considered attending and playing for Chaminade, where his uncle, Frank Bennett, is head coach for the boys basketball team. But Moore decided he wanted to play for Webster Groves High School under then head coach Jay Blossom.
“I thought about playing for my uncle, but I really wanted to play against him and beat him,” Moore said with a chuckle
That chance came in the 2018 state final when Webster beat Chaminade.
“It felt great to win, but I also felt bad for my uncle,” he said.
Moore thought he would have additional opportunities to compete against Chaminade, but he suffered a shoulder injury in the fall of 2018 that ended his season early. After rehabbing his shoulder for six months, Moore was looking forward to his junior season. Unfortunately, he suffered another season-ending injury to his other shoulder, which would also require surgery.
Even though he was devastated by the news, Moore refused to give up or quit. He never missed a game or a practice in the two seasons that he was injured and couldn’t play. He was always there to support his teammates and pass on any basketball knowledge he had and cheer them on from the sidelines.
As Moore entered his senior year, he felt strong and ready to play — it was his last chance to hear an athletic scholarship for college. But it just wasn’t in the cards. Moore dislocated his right shoulder during the first scrimmage of the season.
“I worked so hard, but my body betrayed me,” he said. “I knew I had to say goodbye to basketball.”
Moore’s approach to his teammates and other young athletes is simple: “Play every game like it’s your last, as in my case, that turned out to be true.”
Even as disappointed as he is, Moore still has a positive attitude.
“I know that God has other plans for me, but no one can ever challenge or question my heart and toughness when it came to the game that I love,” he said.
Even though this story may be a sad one, it shows there is life after sports and even though things may not always go the way we plan, it’s only a closed chapter of a book that continues to be written. Moore’s 3.7 GPA at Webster Groves High School has earned him several academic scholarship offers, and he’s currently deciding where to attend college in the fall of 2021.
Editor’s Note: This piece was submitted to the Times by a Webster Groves resident who wishes to remain anonymous.