Most Leesville students would agree that playing a sport in high school requires a lot of time and energy. For instance, football practices are everyday after school with games on Fridays; soccer and volleyball teams have practices every day after school with an average of two games a week. That is enough to make anyone’s legs feel like jell-o.
Over 250 athletes compete in some sort of sporting event in the fall season. Two athletes are able to muster enough energy to play two sports at one time. Yes, you did that read that correctly. Two sports, one season.
Chris Hawthorne, senior, and Emily Putman, freshman, both compete in two sports during the fall season. Hawthorne is on the varsity soccer team as well as the varsity football team. Putman competes on the junior varsity volleyball team and the cross-country team.
What do you get when you combine futbol and football? Chris Hawthorne. Many seniors would agree that Hawthorne is an all-around Loonie. Every Friday for three years, Hawthorne cheered on the football team to another victory. However, this year he is adding to those victories.
Last year Doug Theret, senior, always informed Hawthorne on what was happening with the football team. Theret begged Hawthorne to try out for the team because they varsity football team really needed a kicker. And what better could they get than a varsity soccer player? Over the winter of 2008, Hawthorne practiced and decided that he wanted to commit to the football team as well as the soccer team.
“I went to football two-a-days and soccer two-a-days. It was hard, but it is worth it. Although I was in shorts, I managed to kick a 58 yard field goal,” said Hawthorne.
Due to convenient scheduling, Hawthorne will not have to worry about missing a game for either soccer or football. The practices are somewhat more confusing. “I have to keep both coaches informed of where I am and what practice I can come too. I usually go to soccer first, then football,” said Hawthorne. Since the football practices are scheduled based on special teams, Hawthorne does not find himself often missing them.
Even though it is exhilarating to play on two different teams, it definitely has a toll. “I get home late every night, and I tend to get a lot of homework. It is exhausting,” said Hawthorne. Hawthorne doesn’t complain. “I feel that it is my job to set an example and be a role model. I feel privileged to have only played varsity sports in high school, and I feel that it is my job to set an example and be a role model.”
Hawthorne’s first love was soccer—it has always been soccer. “However, the rush that I got coming out for my first football game was amazing. I was so hyped,” said Hawthorne.
Playing two varsity sports has brought more positives than negatives for Hawthorne. Coach Greene asked Hawthorne a hard question: What happens if you get the opportunity to kick in college? “That we will have to see,” said Hawthorne.
Most freshman are worried about fitting into high school, doing well in their classes and wondering if they would even make a sport’s team. Yet, Leesville has one freshman who was dedicated enough to make two. “It is hard to pick between two sports you really like when they are both in the same season. It was a hard decision to pick volleyball over cross-country,” said Putnam.
Over the summer, Putnam tried out for volleyball. She made the junior varsity team and was content with where she stood. Coach McLamb, the cross-country coach expressed an interest in putting more girls on the team. Putnam’s friends were quick to say her name. “All my friends on cross-country knew that I ran track in middle school and thought I would make a good addition to the team,” said Putnam.
She continued, “McLamb offered me a spot on his team, and I took him up on the offer. I figured that if he was offering me a spot, playing two sports in one season could actually be done.” Indeed it was.
Putnam dedicates certain days to each practice. On Mondays, Putnam attends track practice. “Track practice on Monday is focused on speed. It is probably the hardest practice out of the entire week. I figured that since I could not attend all the practices, I should go to the hardest one and train by myself the other days,” said Putnam.
Tuesday through Thursday Putnam attends volleyball practice. Even though her athletic schedule is undoubtedly tough, there is a little relief. Track meets are Wednesdays and Saturdays while volleyball games are Tuesdays and Thursdays. “It is nice to know that I will never have to pick between the two sports. I can come to my meet or game knowing that I didn’t have to give anything up to be there,” said Putnam.
Even though Putnam does not have to choose between competing, she did have to choose what days she would practice. “I was nervous at first that the team may see me as having more privileges than them. There was no way I could be at practice every day, and they could,” said Putnam. However, both coaches and teams surprised Putnam. “All the players on each team treat me like I am on the team. After all, I am on the team. I am just on another team as well. I think they respect me as an athlete,” said Putnam.
“I am really glad Leesville gave me the opportunity to play two different sports in one season– I may have never known that I could kick for a football team if it wasn’t for Leesville,” said Hawthorne.
Although playing two sports in one season is time consuming, energy draining and emotional wearing , two remarkable athletes manage to handle the dedication. Hawthorne concluded, “I don’t think I could ever play three sports at one time, but two is just fine with me.”