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Being a High School Student Athlete

By:  Zachary Keeney


Those who have participated in organized high school sports know the grueling schedule: school for eight hours, practice for three or a game for four, eat, homework, bed. This is a cycle that is unending until the season is over. Being a student athlete takes dedication and hard work in all aspects of life both in and out of the sports season, and not just while on the field.


Student athletes are faced with more challenges in high school than the average student. They are expending much more time at school with their sport; on average per week, a player spends an extra eighteen hours at school practicing, playing in games, or working with coaches on how to improve the team. Eighteen hours is equivalent to working a part time job, except these students are not being paid for their work. They do it out of the love they have for their sport. 


The amount of time involved creates more than one problem. First and foremost, it can create strain for a student to fully and properly complete his scholastic tasks. For some student athletes it can be very difficult to find time to finish homework or study for tests. Occasionally these tasks are not completed well, and when this happens the average non-athlete has it easy. One can simply go into school after hours and either retake the test, or get the extra help required to ensure one is prepared for testing. Student athletes on the other hand, do not have this life line. If a student is struggling academically, he or she is not able to come in after school without suffering repercussions in his or her sport such as losing playing time in the next game or missing something important in practice.


Spending more time with sports also diminishes something very important to high schools students: free time. It is crucial that students have time to relax, spend time with friends and not feel bottled up with stress by the daily grind. Due to the extra time expended in sports, students must use time later in the day in order to maintain good grades in school. This proverbial push of necessary daily tasks to later in the day erases time that could be spent enjoying interacting with friends or treating themselves to something relaxing. What was once on the mental calendar as time for friends is now time playing catch up with schoolwork or practicing to perfect his or her sport.


The time sacrifices made in the classroom and in the social life require student athletes to have a certain drive to complete and maintain usual tasks. For a student not in a sport, these tasks would seem regular or un-daunting. But to a student athlete, the additional efforts sports require are piling on an already full plate, making finishing a worksheet late at night or looking over flash cards seem like scaling a mountain. These athletes must have an otherworldly drive to maintain their lives.


Even though having a sport on a student’s schedule may seem like a heavy addition, high school athletics are generally looked back on as some of the fondest moments of one’s high school life. Those who truly love their sport do not see the additional push they have to give. They are simply so ecstatic to be given an outlet to do what they love that whatever extra work they put in doesn’t seem like work at all.


In high school sports a person is likely to be playing with people he or she has played with all through pee-wee leagues and other students the athlete has grown up with and befriended through the sport over the years. This comradeship is unmatched in other parts of high school. Sports bring people close together, and in high school you have previously grown with your teammates, making the time playing with them even more special. Furthermore, playing sports in high school creates or amplifies a sense of school pride, winning for the team and self, but also pushing for the love and pride felt for the school.


For the vast majority of athletes, high school is the final platform for competitive sports. A very small percentage of athletes play in college, and an even smaller percentage are graced with the opportunity to be a primetime superstar. High school athletes must make the most of their time playing because it is likely that they won’t be able to play the sport they love further down the road, as most students know. Through it all, good and bad, to those who push to play the game know it’s all worth it.


Email Zach Keeney at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it