It would be a lie to say that being on a sports team is just an extracurricular activity, instead, I would describe it as a lifestyle. Long gone are the days of participating in a sport as a mere hobby. You either live and breathe your sport, or you don’t sport at all.
Considering this, one might think that the summer would be the perfect time for a student to rest. Well, that’s not completely true. I play tennis, and for the most part, I enjoy it. However, I also enjoy writing and reading and going to sleep before midnight occasionally, luxuries that are often difficult to come across during our competitive sports season. Sure, we get winter to rest, but then it’s training season again in spring which basically means that my few frees will begin to dwindle down to nothing.
So finally summer comes around again which is pleasant for awhile but then the emails begin to roll in. By the first week of August, many athletes who participate in fall season sports are already starting to return to campus in order to begin tryouts and training. This leaves most students with less than two months of an uninterrupted break during which time many athletes practice their sport to stay in shape regardless.
For students at this school, summer could not be more valuable. During the school year, it is almost impossible to find time to pursue hobbies outside of electives due to the generous amount of tests and quizzes that each class administers. Therefore, summer proves itself to be the best opportunity to explore one’s own interests.
Although tennis only starts a week before school, I know that I could’ve used that week to finish up a few summer projects or books that I won’t be able to give proper attention to once September rolls around again, especially with the rest of summer filled with visiting relatives and spending time with my family.
Students who spend everyday during their competitive season attending their sport should not be forced to take time out of their vacation to attend their school sport team.
Another issue is that many students either want to or are pressured into getting internships or jobs over the summer and having to go to school everyday to play a sport by as early as the beginning of August can interfere with this.
I would even go as far as to say less students play sports because of this overload of practice. Sure, there are those whose lives truly do revolve around their sport and that’s the way they set it up, but is that fair for the students who want to participate in a sport but do not simply because of the intense time commitment?
There has to be some in between space for the stellar athlete who wants to spend their summer writing a novel or the novelist who wants to try out being on a sports team. We cannot be a school full of opportunities if our students are only able to choose one of them.
Let summer be a time of intellectual exploration or a time for stepping out of comfort zones. Let us again return to the idea of a “well rounded student” and our community will be all the better for it.