The following column was published in Wootton’s Common Sense newspaper.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Charles Dickens may not have been a high school student athlete, but his iconic words ring true in the fields and courts of our school’s sports teams. Being a student-athlete here is certainly a memorable experience, but the dizzying highs and lows can make it quite a hectic ride. These are the awesome (and not-so-awesome), parts of being a high school student-athlete.
If you want to compete as a Patriot athlete, you have a wide array of opportunities available. The school offers 27 varsity sports, including some with both varsity and junior varsity teams. Though some teams make cuts based on performance level, others welcome potential athletes with open arms and the simple requirement of showing up. Plus, new clubs such as Ultimate Frisbee, flag football and mat club (wrestling) have added to the school’s sports scene. Having dozens of opportunities makes finding a niche all the more easy.
I’m not saying that all of the school’s facilities are abysmal- the turf field and track are relatively new and in great condition. But other areas that our school’s sports teams use are less than impressive. The weight room (the smallest in the county), the wrestling room and the bridge to Frost get a ton of use from the school’s sports teams but are in dire need of repair or renovation. Oh, and don’t get me started about the stadium’s bathrooms (see vol 47, issue 1).
Best: Experienced coaches
Our coaches know their sports inside and out. I compete on the track and field team, led by Coach Jonathan Thomas (a 400 meter state champion in high school) and Coach Kellie Redmond (a former Division 1 runner). Across the board, you’ll find coaches who bring an abundance of experience, track records of success and insightful perspectives to the table, but even more importantly a passion for the game. As an athlete, it is reassuring to know that we’re in good hands.
Worst: Time commitment
The majority of our sports teams practice at least five days a week for hours at a time, not to mention the occasional competitions. Such dedication is necessary to compete at a high level, but there’s no denying the time crunch that a student-athlete deals with on a regular basis. Balancing schoolwork and extracurricular activities is no easy task, and missing class time for competitions can be problematic.
Best: Team atmosphere
What many of our graduating seniors will miss most about high school sports is being part of a team. High school athletics affords students the opportunity to bond with teammates and grow together as athletes and people, without the win-at-all-cost stakes that plague collegiate athletics and lead to burnout. The experience of sharing in the euphoria of victory with your teammates after weeks of draining practice and hard-fought competition just can’t be beat. Those are the best of times.