By A.J. Calabrese and Lucy Jackson
âJax, you idiot!â a player laughed as Stephen Jackson â08 walked down the aisle to the front row of seats in Ahmanson. Seconds earlier, he had tried to slip underneath his chair for a nap, only to be awakened by proctor Gabriel Preciado, and ordered up front. He high-fived Gavin McCourt â09, already banished to the front row minutes before, and took a seat.
The two exiled players remained there for the next hour and a half under the watchful eye of Preciado, who was sitting at his computer two feet away. The mandatory study hall, instituted by the Athletic Department to allow athletes time to finish work before late practices, was underway.
âI do see the need for athletes to be a little more involved with schoolwork,â Preciado said. âThe study hall gives them an outlet to do that.â
Though it was originally thought by the faculty and athletic department that study hall would provide useful time for student athletes, the athletes themselves generally think it is a waste of time.
âI hate this, quote me on that,â Terhon OâNeal â09 said upon entering Ahmanson.
OâNeal sat down, immediately striking up a conversation with Corey Vann â09. The group, buzzing with chatter and rowdy laughter, received a glare from Preciado. He announced to the room of athletes that their deans and coaches would be informed of any misbehavior.Â
âStudents are pretty cooperative, but I have to call them on a few things,â Preciado said. âItâs a large group, so Iâm just there to keep order.â
Though Preciado is in charge of keeping order, he also sympathizes with the football team. Midway through the period, Preciado announced that he understood they were tired, and wished them the best of luck on their season.
While footballâs big numbers keep Preciado on his toes, the field hockey team suffers from a lack of attendance. Of the 34 girls on the JV and Varsity rosters, only 18 showed up for study hall last Wednesday, citing various excuses and parent-written notes.
âMy impression was that study hall was to be attended as a team, but parents can excuse kids from study hall by writing notes,â Preciado said. âSome girls gave me notes for the entire season, so theyâve never come.â
While not attending may be frowned upon, many of the girls justify it because they have different study habits.
âI gave him a note because I have a tutor after school,â Hannah Levitt â09 said. âI donât think study hall is a waste of time, but I think it should be optional because people study in different ways or at different times.â
Though the field hockey study hall in Munger 102 had only 18 girls, the group took longer to settle in than the 51 football players. After the last players came in 15 minutes past the designated start time, Preciado got to business.
âWhen I say, âLetâs be quiet,â letâs do that okay?â Preciado said. Two minutes later, Preciado announced he would be remembering names of talkative players, then again told the group to keep it down.
âThe girlsâ study hall is probably a little more lively,â Preciado later said. âThe boys get anxious, and they want to mess around more, but the girls, they feel the need to talk.â
Last Tuesday, footballers excused themselves for bathroom breaks a total of 21 times. Some came back with candy, others with drinks. On average, the breaks took six minutes, and provided players with an escape from what they believe to be a detention-like hour and a half.
âIt has very detention-like qualities,â McCourt said. âYouâre not allowed to talk. Youâre not allowed to sleep.â Preciado, however, feels this isnât the case.
âItâs not supposed to be detention,â he said. âTheyâre allowed to study, theyâre allowed to roam around and talk, but we want to keep a working environment for the people who want it. The goal is to help these kids accomplish something, but we canât force them to do anything.â