22 April 2021
Everyone knows a basketball player, but how many people know an equestrian?
Every high school has some sort of athletics program. Most have the basic sports like football or baseball, while some even have swimming or tennis. These sports are perfectly fine for most students, but some choose to play a sport that schools don’t typically offer, such as horseback riding or fencing. Students who play these recreational sports can have a challenging time balancing their sport, school, and other activities. The more someone does, the more likely they are to burn out.
Juggling extracurriculars, friends, and school is obviously difficult for every student. The students who chose outside programs may become overwhelmed from everything going on in their busy lives. Traveling outside of school grounds and having to spend multiple hours at practice adds up. Obviously students in their school’s programs struggle in similar ways, but their situation is different. Administrators tend to be more lenient when students are participating in the school’s program. Students who play in programs not hosted by their school add an extra component to their already busy schedules by playing a recreational sport. Making sure events don’t clash and grades don’t drop can become more and more demanding.
“I did prioritize school work over sports. I make sure I had time to still play the sport I love, to have an outlet, besides just normal school work,” said Isabelle Wilson, a former field hockey player and sophomore at Catonsville High School.
These students struggle with things like social lives, time management, and getting homework done. Because of this, students may have a more difficult time balancing their academic life with sports than the average student athlete.
“I probably do my homework at like eight o’clock,” said Alex Osteen, an equestrian and freshman at Good Counsel High School. “I just ride and then do my homework.” Osteen clarified that she believes that others should not follow her example and her coach agrees. “Catherine [Osteen’s coach] always says that if I don’t have my homework done then I should never come to a lesson.”
Not only does homework require time management, but practice and game times must also be taken into account by these student athletes.
“If my practice starts at four and school lets out at, you know, three, then it’s like I have to rush to get to practice on time,” said Eva Mendoza, a swimmer for Andy’s Serpents in Columbia and a freshman at Atholton High School.
Sometimes students in outside programs do have to choose between school and their social lives due to prior commitments to their sports. Alternatively, they might be forced to choose between completing assignments and practice.
“I could always make the game and then had to cancel other plans so that I could get my schoolwork done,” said Wilson. “Sometimes we did other activities after our games or something like a team dinner that I didn’t end up going to finish schoolwork.”
Students who participate in recreational sports unquestionably have a lot going on. Trying to balance everything clearly takes its toll. However, this doesn’t mean that other students don’t struggle the same or more than they do. Everyone has, at some point in their life, had to choose between doing something fun with friends or getting their homework done. The students who partake in programs not offered by their school’s have a unique situation that not everyone can relate to. This is why these athletes have offered advice for anyone in a similar situation.
“I think it’s only difficult to balance school and sports if you care about one more than the other, but once you prioritize both equally it becomes much easier to balance,” said Osteen.
Wilson says to “buy a planner,” and to not procrastinate or waste time when you should be getting work done.
“If it really is too much, then you may need to take a step back and reconsider what your goals are,” said Mendoza.
Athletes who have chosen a recreational sport over more traditional sports know how physically and mentally demanding their lifestyle is. Despite all the drawbacks, they wouldn’t change a thing. Anyone who is interested in taking up a sport outside of Atholton should listen to Alex Osteen, who simply said, “Do your homework”.