Student athletes at MTHS often prioritize athletics above all else, sacrificing a lot in order to fill a spot on a team. School athletics demand far too much from students and the resulting pressure needs to be diminished.
Sports are a very large part of students’ lives. Usually, teams will practice or play six times a week. The average amount of time spent playing sports for school per week is between nine and 14 hours while they only spend 33 hours in school.
A student athlete goes to school for about six-and-a-half hours each day. After school, he or she has two-and-a-half hours of practice. Some coaches encourage staying even later in the weight room or coming before school starts to work out. On top of that, at least two hours of homework.
School sports take up much of students’ time, apart from academics. Students miss out on other extracurricular activities for a whole season or more, depending on what sports they play. For athletes who hope to pursue sports as a career in the future, school sports will often take priority over all else because of available scholarships or college recruiting. This means no plays, coffee houses, or art shows.
Spring sports will often conflict with the many activities held at the end of the year. Students may find themselves choosing between the championship game and senior prom, which is a big part of graduating students’ social lives.
Instead of putting so much pressure on students to attend every practice and game, the school should set a limit for how much time teams can meet per week. Saturday practices should be eliminated, and practice time (excluding game time) shouldn’t exceed more than six hours per week.
Sports are another thing student athletes must incorporate into their schedules. They have to juggle school, homework, sports, friends, and sleep. For most students, this can become overwhelming. They end up losing sleep, falling behind in school, or lacking a social life.
Freshman soccer player Rahul Dasari says, “Days when I have games, I usually have to stay up late [to do homework] and reduce my break time.”
School sports are so competitive that they discourage students from taking a break once in a while. The competition is not only with other teams, but also amongst the players themselves. Every player wants to get the coach’s attention and usually wants to play first string.
A philosophy has been adopted that players who spend the most time at practice will get to play the most. This means students are desperate to be acknowledged. Students have even gone as far as attending practice or games while they are injured or ill. Coaches often praise players who attend practice and games even if they can’t participate.
Freshman Morgan Davies from the field hockey team says, “As we get older, I feel like sports get more competitive and less casual.”
Another way to reduce sport-related stress is to shorten the season. One sport season can last three months, so student athletes pay the majority of attention to sports for about one-third of the school year. If the season is shortened, it will shorten the time-frame in which student athletes must juggle their schedules. This will allow spring athletes more time to prepare for final exams and attend other events.
When do fun and games become too intensive and overwhelming?