From July to December, Leesville’s football team is dedicated to running, conditioning and practicing several hours a day, five days a week. Even when the season is over, the team uses those extra months for training, with players working to maintain their speed and strength at gym workouts and training sessions. What people rarely consider is how this time-consuming sport affects the boys’ lives outside the weight room—what happens to their academic and social life?
“My life during the weekdays is all football,” said Ian Pryor, senior. “I go from school to practice, which ends around 8, then I do homework, then sleep.”
Usually, as with most high school students, sleep is the highest priority for football players.
“After practice ends around 7 or 8, I go home and straight to bed,” said Logan Bible, junior. “I’m always too tired to do my homework.”
The priorities of the players during football season vary only slightly. For the majority of the athletes, after sleep, grades are most important. Several of the boys said that once the season ends, their study and homework habits improve, as do their grades.
Relationships are commonly the third most important concern among boys on the team. Many of the players said that football puts a strain on their relationships, while others claim their sport has little interference.
Austin Berrios, sophomore, complained of how relationships take up time. “Some girls are needy,” he said, “they talk to you a lot, especially when you’re trying to do homework or sleep.”
Bible, however, has more positive experiences with athletics and relationships. “My girlfriend is an athlete, too, so she understands,” he explained.
Clearly, a time commitment lasting more than five months will cause scheduling conflicts for the players. In order to play well, according to the team, it is necessary to work out and practice during the summer to get a leg up on competition before the season starts. However, many complain about these preseason workouts, minicamps, and two-a-days taking up half of their summer.
“If I could change one thing about the season, it would be the summer workouts,” said Pryor. “They start so soon after summer begins, and they’re not very optional.”
After learning how much time and work goes in to maintaining the team’s success, you have to wonder, is it all worth it?
“Of course it is,” Bible responded.
“Yeah,” answered Pryor. “It makes our team better; if we don’t practice, we’re not as good. It brings our team closer.”