But Jenna Totaro understands that is all part of the plan at Secaucus High School, where she has toiled in virtual obscurity behind standout athletes like seniors Cory Roesing and Kristen Bronowich.
Roesing, perhaps the best all-around athlete in the history of the school, and Bronowich have been dominating the attention in three sports (volleyball, basketball and softball) for the last four years, with Roesing earning All-State honors in volleyball twice and just recently becoming the all-time leading scorer in girls' basketball history at the school, snapping a record set by Sandy Acerra 28 years ago.
Bronowich has been right there along side of Roesing every step of the way, perhaps not gaining the same kind of notoriety and attention that Roesing receives, but realistically not too far behind.
And for the last three years, there's been Totaro, doing all the dirty work for all three teams and getting very little recognition for it.
Totaro is the one diving all over the floor during volleyball matches, getting the ball in position for Roesing or Bronowich to make the big hit or kill. In basketball, Totaro is either the point guard or the off-guard, making the plays that lead to big baskets from the two talented seniors. In softball, Totaro literally does all the dirty work, getting grungy every game as the Patriots' catcher.
But Totaro is clearly as important as any other member of the Patriots' athletic program. There's little doubt that there wouldn't have been three championships to celebrate in 2005-06 and a volleyball Group I crown to enjoy last November without the efforts of Totaro, doing all the necessary little things.
"It's all about how you make things happen," Totaro said. "To me, it's the little things that matter. If you walk off the court or the field knowing you did your best, that's all that matters."
Secaucus girls' basketball coach Cheryl Bott knows how important Totaro is.
"I don't want to say she takes a backseat to the others," Bott said. "She's a big reason why we've been successful. Jenna's tough. She's a competitor. Between Krissy, Cory and Jenna, they do a lot of good things together. Jenna is the one to get the ball when we need it. If we need a big rebound, Jenna gets it. If we need a steal, Jenna does it. She just plays hard and tough and plays to win. That's what carries her."
Last week against North Arlington, Totaro had the basketball game of her lifetime, accomplishing a feat that had never been done in Secaucus history - by a boy or a girl. In fact, it was so much of an amazing feat that neither Totaro nor Bott knew what it was called.
In a 52-40 win over BCSL National rival North Arlington, Totaro scored 23 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, dished off for 10 assists and registered 10 steals. In basketball terms, that's called a "quadruple-double," because Totaro reached double figures in four different statistical categories.
It was such an amazing achievement that Totaro hadn't a clue what it was.
"I saw 'quadruple-double' in the paper and I said, 'What's that?'" Totaro said. "I really didn't know. I didn't think I did that well. I knew I played hard, but I didn't know it was something special."
"I didn't even realize she did what she did until I got home and saw the stats," Bott said. "It was incredible. I never had a kid who had a 'triple-double.' I didn't even know what it was called. All I knew that it was pretty cool and that Jenna had a good game."
If there was one facet of the phenomenal stat line that would be surprising, even the 5-foot-6 Totaro knew which one it was.
"Oh, definitely rebounding," Totaro said. "I was shocked when I heard I had 13 rebounds. Coach Bott puts me down low sometimes and it's my job to get the ball. But when I heard I had 13 rebounds, I was so excited. In fact, it blew me away."
It was a whirlwind week for Totaro. The Record of Hackensack named her the Girl Athlete of the Week, complete with a nice caricature drawing of Totaro. The MSG Network also named her as the Female Basketball Player of the Week, as she was featured on the network's High School Weekly show.
"My whole family got together to watch the show," Totaro said. "We spent the whole time trying to record it. We knew it was coming on, but for the longest time, all they showed were boys and it was nerve wracking, watching the show and thinking maybe they forgot about me. Then, it came on during the last two minutes and it was so cool. After it was over, I had so many friends calling me on the phone. It was awesome."
Needless to say, Bott was very proud of her player's achievement and place in history.
"It's nice to have more than one kid receive the accolades," Bott said. "It's good for everyone involved. It's great for the kids, because we're helping to put Secaucus on the map. We play as a team, but sometimes, the individual stands out. Every one of the girls has stepped up in their own way. This was Jenna's night."
In her next game, Totaro had 14 points, seven steals, six rebounds and three steals in a win over Lyndhurst. It's an impressive performance all the same, considering it helped the Patriots win another game, moving to 6-2 overall and remaining undefeated in the BCSL National as they pursue a second straight league crown.
However, after the previous game, it almost seemed pedestrian.
"There are others on the team that deserve credit as well," Totaro said. "My Dad told me that my next game could always turn out to be my worst, so I have to stay focused and not let that other game get to my head."
But it's obviously a game that she will always remember.
"At least I now know what it means," Totaro said. "I won't say, 'What's that?' anymore. I'm very proud of the game. I mean, it's not something I set out to do, considering I never even heard of it before. It all just came naturally."
Just like Totaro's commitment to excellence in all three sports. If she had to pick a favorite of the three, Totaro answers reluctantly.
"Considering I've been playing basketball since I've been five, I guess it has to be basketball," Totaro said. "I think a game like this is going to help my confidence. It still feels pretty amazing. I just have to stay focused, stay confident, don't give up and don't be afraid to fail. If I do that, then good things will happen."
Maybe even more "quadruple doubles."
"You never know," Totaro said. "At least I now know it's possible."