Taking Play to the Next Level

Athletes often find themselves with too much to cram into too little time. For many, this excess workload between sports, school and other extracurriculars can result in a lack of focus of one of the three groups.


Ethan Holmes

Many students have a hard time finding an even balance between athletics, school and life.

Students flock to high school sports for many different reasons. For some, sports act as a way of getting out of the house and finally getting that breath of fresh air that they need. For others, sports act as a way to connect with friends and have shared interests. For many athletes, sports act almost as a way of life or something that they have always known. High school acts as the perfect pedestal to get them to the next level: college athletics. 


Many people who enter high school hope to one day play a sport in college; however, many never get the chance. Whether they lose interest or feel they do not play at the level that they need to be at, only a select few athletes are recruited each year to play at the college level. This is exactly why many people who hope to one day play in college have been practicing all their lives for the opportunity.


“Football is one of the only sports that I have focused on all my life,” junior Andy Bowles said. “I’ve played plenty of other sports, but I’ve always known that football is the one that I’d want to play in college. I’ve been trying to play at my absolute best and sleep getting better for a long time now.”


There are many differences between people who play a sport for the fun of it and those who hope to one day play at a college stadium. Most notably is how they train for their sport both during play and in the offseason.


“I started running cross country as a way of training for other sports,” junior Brock Sooley said. “I think I have always been pretty good at running, and I have a lot of friends who also run so it was an easy decision to make. It also helps me prepare for football during the offseason, so the extra endurance is a good bonus to spending time with my friends.”


This training can make or break a high school athlete’s career. Athletes who hope to play at the college level often make sure to schedule plenty of time around their already grueling schedule in order to make sure they are able to train for the sport of their choice. This is a drastic difference to those who use certain sports as a means of spending time with friends or strictly as an extracurricular.


“Outside of the season, and even while we’re playing, I train a lot outside of practices in order to get better,” senior Fayth Vesser said. “I don’t know whether or not I want to play in college, but I just wanted to make sure I was always improving and was able to play at my best at all times. It takes a lot of work, but it’s always nice to see all of your hard work pay off in the end.”


With many sports this season experiencing never before seen conditions due to COVID-19, many athletes hoping to continue their athletic journey turned to other sports in the offseason to continue to get better. Some athletes have also attended private coaching sessions, changed their diet, and adapted to many new changes in order to push themselves to be the best athletes that they can be. After all, these athletes know exactly where they want to be and how to get there, and nothing, not even a global pandemic, is going to get in their way.