Participating in a sport supposedly reduces stress, but these days sports seems to cause more than they relieve. Students spend hours upon hours practicing for their sport, sacrificing time for homework and a social life. They say practice makes perfect, but is it worth it?
Most students join a high school sport because they like the exercise and sports look good on college applications. They do not aspire to become professional athletes, but they train like it.
An athlete’s day begins around 6:00 a.m. when they wake up. If they play water polo, they have to arrive at school by 6:30 a.m. for a morning practice before school until 2:30 p.m. (if they play baseball, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, volleyball or water polo this time probably includes a two-hour P.E. practice). From 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. athletes have another practice and by the time they get home, take a shower and eat it is nearly 7:00 p.m. If they have other activities or take honors and AP classes, they most likely will be occupied until midnight or whenever they collapse from exhaustion only to get up the next morning and do it all over again.
The sad thing is, all of this work does not secure a student’s spot on varsity, or the team even; and if they do make the team, that does not mean they will get to play. No matter how much time and effort they put in, the bottom line for a coach is one simple question: Will they help the team win? While this philosophy provides Carlsbad High School and other competitive high schools with winning sports teams, the stress it causes students can be unbearable.
Athletes want their letterman jacket so they work even harder, spend even more time (that they do not have) practicing, and in the end it still might not pay off. Students stress about making the team when they should be doing homework. They do homework when they should be out having fun.
Students need to remember to put their well-being first. Your body can only handle so much stress and you should not push yourself to your limits just so you can put another extra-curricular activity on your college applications. If the stress gets to be too much and is not paying off then cut back and focus on school and the activities you love. Excelling in a few areas is better than stretching yourself too thin.
Remember, all this sweat may be worth it if you want to turn pro someday, but if you don’t… don’t sweat it.