Student athletes and the daily struggle
The loud croak of the 6:30 alarm breaks the lingering silence, and the smell of freshly cooked pancakes and eggs slowly starts to fill the air, carrying with it the soft coo of the new morning. The early riser rolls out of bed, meeting the enticing smell, and begins to think about the 150 minute basketball practice that awaits him after school. This is the normal school morning of senior student athlete Evan Espinoza.
Throughout his four years of high school, Espinoza has been involved in football, basketball, and baseball, and is a two time recipient of the Lion’s Club Award. Outside of sports he is enrolled in several AP classes, including AP Biology, AP Calculus, and AP Literature.
Being a student athlete can be a constant challenge. Espinoza finds it hard to juggle schoolwork, sports, and still find time to relax. It’s not uncommon among athletes to come home after a two and a half hour practice and find a pile of unfinished homework looming in the corner of their desk. Yet because athletes are required to have at least a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) to remain on the team, conquering the pile of assignments is a must, resulting in a 10 p.m. or later bedtime.
However, this busy schedule isn’t all doom and gloom. Studies show that 60 percent of high schoolers who are involved in sports and other extra curricular activities learn how to manage their time and seem to get more things done (The Global Post).
“Now I’m used to [my schedule]… I know how to manage everything,” Espinoza said.
On average, student athletes have a GPA of 3.25, compared to the average 3.01 GPA of non involved students (Department of Educational Leadership). On top of a higher grade point average, the lessons learned in time consuming activities are lessons that are vital to everyday life.
“Sports definitely teach you [things] that are kind of important for life…[Sports] teach you that you aren’t going to win every battle life throws at you, but if you keep working at it someday you will,” sophomore Jadyn Steaffens, a varsity soccer player,
Although finding time to squeeze everything in is a constant battle fought by many student athletes, it isn’t the end of the world.
“You have to plan ahead and look at everything you’re doing… you have to be smart,” Espinoza said. “It can be really hard… but you have to get it done and do what you have to do.”
In the long haul, the struggle can produce the greatest of outcomes. Looking back at all the many hours of practices and late nights of cramming, Espinoza believes, “It was worth it.” He reflects on the many friendships made and many lessons he learned. “Everyone has difficulties, and life just isn’t easy in general, but perseverance is the way to push through and achieve your goals; sports have taught me that,”said Espinoza.
Being involved and filling up the calendar isn’t something to fear, it’s something that can turn out to be the best thing. It can prove to teach valuable lessons and avoid the constant phrase of “I’m bored.” As long as the time is budgeted, and things are put into a healthy balance, it is possible to juggle school work, sports, and a social life smoothly.