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Skiing Around the Clock: Keeping up with Work, Skiers Endure Tricky Practice Schedule

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Courtesy of

Farrel Levenson ’11
Opinions Editor

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Courtesy of

During the winter season at Staples, some athletes can be found in the pool, some on the track, and some on the court. However, twice a week, the Staples ski team can be found an hour away from school, at Southington mountain.

The Staples team is one of 24 high school ski teams in the state in the Connecticut Interscholastic Ski League. As a result, they divide their time between land practices and mountain practices.

“When we practice at Staples, practice is from 2:45–4:00 two days per week,” said girls coach Tom Owen.

In contrast, “our average practice when we are at the mountain lasts five-and-a-half hours…including travel” said captain William Hardy ’10.

As a result, many believe the ski team is a large time commitment.

“With the academic load and family commitment it is a long day,” said Owen. “[The students] bring their skis in at 7:00 a.m and go to school all day, to get on a bus go to practice or race and get home at 7:30–8:00 p.m. They still have to eat dinner and do their homework.”

“Ski team is definitely a huge time commitment,” Melissa Sweeney ’11 said. “In order to be able to handle academics and ski team, I have to give up my free time.”

Given that the aforementioned mountain practices are twice a week, the season, “makes finishing homework more stressful,” said captain Katya Strage ’10.

However, the ski team season isn’t a complete negative for the students.

“I get to do something I love, so I can put up with a little stress from homework,” Strage said.

Captain Alec Bernard ’10 believes that the time commitment helps him.

“It does make me use the time I have more efficiently,” Bernard said. “When you can’t start your homework until 8 at night, you really use the time better.”

Sharing a similar sentiment was captain Liv Heil ’10.

“If you use your time fairly wisely it’s totally fine – I don’t really notice my grades slipping during ski team season, I notice my studying habits improving,” Heil said.

In comparison to other Staples sports, ski team tends to require more time.

“I also do swimming and track which definitely have less of a time commitment,” Heil said.

“I play Water Polo in the fall and spring and although our practices are from 5 to 7, you still have time to do work before practice,” Hardy said.

Strage also noticed an increased time commitment.

“I play a sport every season, this year as a three season captain, I am definitely seeing the time commitment each sport is.” Strage said. “I think with track and field hockey its really a six days a week 2–3 p.m. commitment, whereas ski team is two full days, and then two short days. So it’s definitely harder during the ski season.

However, Laux believes the time commitment is “fairly similar” to other sports.

“The mountain days are longer, but the dry land practices are much shorter, so it definitely evens out,” said Laux.

Owen has similar beliefs to Laux. “I believe it is no more or less just different. The travel time is what is tough,” Owen said.

Regardless of other sports, Owen also said that no student has quit in the middle of the season.

“I have had kids come to me after putting in a season or two and decided it was too much,” Owen said.

In addition, the ski team has one advantage that most Staples teams do not.

“We don’t have practices or races on Fridays, during midterms, or February break,” Schare said. Schare noted that this provides “lots of opportunities for students to catch up or get a head start on their work.”

Overall, students are fine with the amount of time being on the ski team requires.

“Even though it is harder to finish my homework, get everything done, and get a full nights sleep, I am on the ski team because I love to ski,” Strage said. “It’s a passion of mine and to be able to ski a few days a week is what makes being on the team worth it.”

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