Being a student-athlete is a lot of work. On top of everyday homework assignments and test preparation, student-athletes have conditioning, practices and games.
One might wonder why some students choose to put themselves in that position. Where do they find the time? How do they stay balanced? Is it too much work to play a sport during high school?
“It depends on the student,” said Sue Ramey, a teacher at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton. “My two sons played sports all through school. I find that most kids are able to balance it all, however, sometimes students spread themselves too thin and that is when it becomes too much work.”
When asked if she finds her students who play sports excel, get by or fall behind in school, Ramey said, “All three. I have students who excel in both areas, but also students who play way too many sports and bring notes to school addressing their incomplete homework. It’s all about prioritizing your time.” Christopher Papapietro, a two-sport athlete at Serra High School, said sports help him keep his grades up.
“If you’re not performing well in the classroom, then school rules may limit your participation on sports teams,” he said.
Playing sports in high school definitely has its pros and cons. Although most students don’t find that extracurriculars negatively affect their grades, it can still be a struggle to balance time between school and sports. How important is it that one even plays a sport during high school?
“It all depends on a student’s interests and passions,” Papapietro said. “If someone enjoys the arts, then that is what they should do. There are plenty of other activities to get involved in if sports aren’t your thing.”
Indeed that is true. If you’re not a baller, then maybe you’re a painter, or a dancer.
“If someone wants to get into college based on an extracurricular, then they should be focussing on that,” said Julia Villanueva, a student government officer and softball player at Notre Dame High School-Belmont. “To me, high school has always been about getting the grades for college, so I place more emphasis on my schoolwork than softball.”
When asked why she chose to participate in sports during high school, Villanueva said there are two main reasons.
“I play sports because I like the social aspect of being on a team and helping each other improve. I also love the fact that exercise becomes fun because you’re doing something that you enjoy and something that is good for your body,” she said.
OK, so sports are fun because you get to be with your friends and burn some calories, but free time in high school is already pretty limited, and kids doing extracurricular activities have even less. What suffers?
“It seems like most of the time, social and family lives are affected,” Ramey said. “Some weekends are spent away at tournaments. When you are involved in extracurricular activities, you have to make choices and sacrifices.”
Teachers and students can agree that playing a sport during high school, or getting involved in any other activities, is very important. Not only are there health benefits to sports, but being a student-athlete is also a great way to stay motivated to maintain good grades. If kids know they have a sports team practice after school, they find themselves being more productive during class and focused when they get home. By allowing yourself less time for school, you might actually become a better student. Give it a shot.
Mari Andreatta is a junior at Notre Dame High School in Belmont. Student News appears in the weekend edition. You can email Student News at firstname.lastname@example.org.