• October 20, 2020
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Emily Echols, sophomore cross country runner, works on homework in the locker room. Athletes must use any spare time they can get to finish homework.

Many admire athletes for their ability to perform under pressure. Many honor roll athletes at Leesville must perform under academic pressure as well.

“When I get home, I don’t have much energy to study,” says Jordan Mareno, soccer player and cross country runner.

Jarrett Wood, sophomore and jv soccer player, says,”It’s harder to study because I have soccer practice and games.”

Many students have enough stress over school alone, but athletes have twice the stress. Not only do they have to push through a mentally and emotionally draining school day, they also have to push through a physically draining practice every afternoon.

“It depends upon the student. Athletics can provide structure but also create a more harsh schedule, especially for AP and honors students,” says Mr. Davis, social studies teacher.

Athletes don’t have as much time to focus on their studies because of their after school commitments, rather it be practice or games.

“[We] have a pregame meal around 3:00, we leave for the game around 4:30, warm-up, play, and get home around 9:30,” says Daniel Nance, jv football player, about the schedule on the days of games

Getting home at 9:30 doesn’t leave a lot of time for schoolwork, especially the amount of time needed for honors classes.

Athletes also struggle with high stress. Constant physical demands are put on them to perform in their sport and constant mental demands are put on them to make good grades.

Student athletes have a much higher stress level than non-student athletes. Some student channel this stress and use it to become better academically. Some, however, use it as an excuse to let their grades slack.

“From my personal point of view, eligibility standards are way too low. I think [the minimum GPA] needs to come up to at least a 2.0, to mirror college eligibility,” says Coach Dinkenor, teacher and coach of men’s and women’s soccer teams.

Students are often falsely convinced that sports are more important than school. They are sent mixed messages between coaches and teachers of the priorities in their life.

“[It is a] privilege to play for [Leesville’s] teams, and if [athletes] don’t figure out that being a good student comes first, they should lose that privilege,” said Dinkenor.

Sports are a privilege, and good grades are something that you need in order to earn that privilege. However, the combination of earning good grades and being involved in a sport can be overwhelming and stressful.

This type of stress on both athletes’ bodies and minds can be unhealthy. However, sports can also be a positive way to deal with the stress from school.

“[Sports] don’t help my stress, but [they] help me get things done which helps my organization, which then helps my grades,” said Abbey Tarnowski, sophomore,  who runs cross country and plays soccer.

“The majority of my players, when they’re in season, have more structured hours and they tend to focus better academically,” said Coach Dinkenor of his mens and womens soccer players.

So while athletics can be a burden on students, they can also positive. Student athletes compete in sports because they enjoy it, and it’s something important to them.

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