Student athletes struggle to balance time

With school, clubs, after school jobs, college searches, standardized collegiate aptitude tests, social lives and sleep playing large roles in every students’ lives (although some more than others), students have a lot on their plates. Athletics add to this burden. Adding sports to the list of daily obligations can make balancing it all even more difficult, but at the same time, can help everything become more steady.

The most direct impact comes with homework, as daily practices take two to three hours out of the afternoon. In many classes, homework makes up 10 percent of the total grade, so while it’s not as crucial as the formative and summative categories, it still has an effect.

Not only do the practices themselves take up vital time, but the waiting for practices to begin adds right on top of it. The earliest practices start at 3 p.m., leaving every athlete 30 minutes between the end of the day and the start of practice. With the time it takes to get ready, there’s not enough time to make any progress on homework, so athletes are left waiting with nothing to do.

Yet for others it’s even worse. The 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. practice slots either leave students rushing home to get at least some work done, or stuck waiting here at school. Neither are optimal environments to fully focus on work. Even after practice is over, sometimes it takes awhile to wind down and lock in on work, so that creates even more of a dilemma. “In my experience, it is much harder to focus on school work after a tiring day of practice,” freshman cross country runner Jeffrey Riker said.

The decreased amount of time in the afternoon also carries over to the other grading categories besides homework, since time to study for quizzes and tests are also limited. This can lead to trouble in the classroom and create stress in working extra hard to keep grades where each athlete wants them to be.

Not to mention, for most sports, away games require leaving school early, causing players to miss part of seventh period and all of eighth. While these instances are infrequent and often relatively insignificant, the need to make up missed work does have potential to overwhelm.

On the other hand, being a part of a team requires discipline, critical thinking and hard work, so skills on the field can be transferred to the classroom, improving the athlete’s grades. In addition, dealing with a loaded afternoon schedule teaches time management, which is an important life skill, even if it gets exhausting. “[Sports] prevent procrastination, but it can create fatigue that makes it hard to work,” senior track athlete Emma Henderson said.

Also, with a minimum GPA requirement of 2.00 to compete for a school team, sports provide incentive to perform well in school. Instead of allowing themselves to slip through the cracks and stop caring about their grades, athletes are all but forced to maintain at least an adequate GPA. “[Baseball] doesn’t give me time to slack off, so it allows me to get all my work done,” junior baseball player Harrison Cance said.

Sports have their benefits and drawbacks when it comes to grades, so it’s up to the athlete to balance their plate, and hopefully leave enough room for dessert.

 

Joe Pohoryles

Front Page Editor

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