Sports over the holidays?

Athletes debate the pros and cons of events during break

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Participating in high school athletics is a big commitment- including regularly scheduled practices and long competitions. Some students who are involved in sports are even expected to attend practices during school-mandated vacations.

These sports, especially varsity athletics, consist of hours of practices daily and long tournaments throughout the weekends.

For some athletes, practices and competitions over designated holidays can be frustrating. For others, these breaks are seen as more time for the team to continue preparing for games and tournaments.

Junior Emma Weaver of the Girls Soccer team argues that practices during breaks are important. She says her team may have long practices during break, but the training is beneficial. According to Weaver, the team needs to “stay in shape in order to perform at our best.”

The girls soccer team is not in season during winter break, but they are strongly encouraged to participate in lifting. As for spring break, they continue practices since it is the middle of their season.

Weaver explained that the scheduled practices allow to team prosper. Lifting helps the team become stronger and help prevent injuries during the season. The training also helps the team feel more confident and prepared for upcoming games.

“Practices and lifts are essential especially when we get into playoffs,” she said.
Senior Ford Baker, one of the captains of the Boys Track and Field team, agrees with this idea. He explained how the track and cross country teams have optional practices during school breaks since training plans are necessary for success.

Athletes in town are encouraged to train with the team during breaks, and those who are out of town are expected to perform their work on their own. “At first, some people don’t understand it. However, as you get older, people begin to realize its importance.”

Baker said that breaks can interrupt their training and cause major issues. He believes that practices are necessary to get everyone back in shape, so the team doesn’t go backwards in training. He understands how sometimes “it can be annoying to wake up and run, but it can also be fun to explore a new place.”

Junior Cat Flood, on the Girls Varsity Volleyball team, said sports’ demanding practices affect her personal time with her friends and family. She has practices three times a week and long tournaments on the weekend, starting early morning and ending late afternoons.

Flood argues that practices over break are not necessarily important, and should not be mandatory for the people who are gone. She said she “barely gets to spend any time with my family over the weekends because I am either doing homework, playing volleyball, resting or with my friends.”

Flood said she is used to this schedule now. “As an athlete you grow up and realize that practice time is important.”

Some teams continue their rigorous schedules throughout the majority of spring break. These prearranged practices can interfere with personal plans including vacation time with friends or family.

Sophomore Ryan Kaestle, a New Trier baseball player, explained how the team is travelling during spring break, “it’s fun to go on a trip with the team but I’d rather have spring break.”

While some may believe that scheduled practices or games during break is unnecessary, while others say it is essential to a team’s success during their season.

For many athletes, sports create memories and strong bonds throughout high school. It’s this sentiment that keeps Weaver coming back. “I can’t speak for my teammates,” she said, “but I do know that we cherish the time we have together, whether its during break or not.”

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