Most students look forward to catching the bus home after a long, taxing school day. However, not everyone has the opportunity to do this on a daily basis. Student-athletes are students who have made a commitment to playing for their high school team, and comprise a large portion of the student population. They often stay two or three hours after school for practice, and come home feeling too weary and tired to do homework and study.
Claudia Xie, a senior sprinter on the track team at RM, has been a student athlete since freshman year. She “would feel like [she] would be losing [her] identity” if she stopped now. She’s taken some off-seasons, and even thought about quitting multiple times, but has “always felt that there was something missing.” Being a student athlete has become a permanent part of her identity.
The main consequence to being a student athlete is losing an average of 15 hours during the school week, and thus being forced to learn time management or risking a drop in grades. Student athletes have to be especially on top of things, seeing that they don’t have the time to cram for tests since they lose such a huge chunk of their non-school hours to practice. For all athletes, the stress to perform well is always there no matter what the level, and this, if not handled properly, can take a mental toll on the individual.
Nevertheless, there are also numerous benefits to being involved in athletics in high school. The personal traits one develops as a high school athlete include teamwork, perseverance, responsibility, physical endurance, commitment, time management, and personal and emotional health. The wellness benefits for the student athlete are that emotional and physical health are developed and maintained. The athlete develops physical stamina to be able to be physically prepared for competition. Emotional health is developed through athletics in many ways. One example is the endorphins that are released during physical activity. When these endorphins are released, a natural high occurs and the athlete feels good, increasing emotional wellness, fighting off depression, and reducing stress.
As a student athlete myself, I have witnessed both the detrimental and uplifting effects of participation in athletics. I have seen friends break down from being cut from a team they worked very hard to make and deserved to make but did not because of the team’s hierarchal structure. But I have also seen myself and others score goals during the last minutes of a game, and shave three minutes off our mile times. I have seen the guts, sweat, tears, and blood produced from ridiculous workouts we couldn’t even get our minds around but somehow got through together. I have seen diligence, excitement, dedication, and elation that I never thought possible. I have seen myself grow, not only academically and athletically, but also spiritually and personally, as a result of my involvement with athletics. At the end of the day, “soccer player” and “runner” have been engrained into who I am as a person and will remain with me throughout my life. I will always cherish the memories, good and bad, I have from high school sports. The only regret I have is thinking to myself that I would have regrets and letting that hinder my performance.
Written by Maryam Ghaderi, MoCo Student opinions writer