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Student Athletes Work Hard On, Off Field

JB Breig '11, a member of the Varsity Lacrosse team, studies his Middle Eastern Studies coursework. Photo by Petey Menz '11

As the bell rings at 2:15 each day, many Staples students are not heading to their buses to go home, but rather in the opposite direction to the locker rooms to get ready for sports practices. These students have busy lives between school, practice every day, and then all their homework each evening, but most face the challenge with enthusiasm, taking stress as a minor cost for all the great benefits of their many activities.

“Soccer just provides an escape from everything. When you’re on the field with your team, you don’t have to worry about anything besides what’s going on right in front of you,” said James Hickok ’13, who is a member of the varsity soccer team in addition to carrying a heavy course load.

Hickok even said that playing soccer helps him manage his time. “During soccer season, it makes it a ton easier to balance sports and athletic commitments because it’s like being on a strict schedule,” he said.

Gabby Wimer ’12, a swimmer, said that to balance all her different commitments to academics, swimming, and music, she has no time to procrastinate with her work and to get it all done she doesn’t watch any TV. For her, though, this is a sacrifice worth making.

“I have known my teammates for years and I love meeting new people on the team,” Wimer said.

Elizabeth Driscoll ’11, a captain of the field hockey, track, and lacrosse teams said “schoolwork is always annoying if I do sports or not”.

“Sports are just a part of my lifestyle,” Driscoll said.

She has learned to plan when she knows about a late game or meet so that she doesn’t fall too far behind.

J.B. Breig ’11, a member of the varsity lacrosse team, said that it also helps when teachers and coaches understand of the busy lives of students and athletes. “If you had to make up a test you could miss part of practice or if you went to a teacher and explained the circumstances you could often get an extension,” Breig said.

Boy’s cross country and track coach Laddie Lawrence said that as a coach, he doesn’t start his practice until 2:45 so that his runners can meet with teachers, stop by a club, or just take a break after a busy day.

“Staples students tend to do so much that they need some sort of break,” Lawrence said. However, “since I build in that extra time, students are supposed to be at practice and I expect them here on time,” Lawrence said.

While athletes say that competing in sports really helps them, there are challenges that they all face.

Hickok said that when he had night soccer games last year, he sometimes had to stay up as late as midnight just working to get everything done.

On a usual night, he still stays up until 10 or 11 p.m. doing his work.

“Sometimes I will just breeze through my homework to get it over with, which most people do, and not understand anything of what I just did,” Hickok said.

Sometimes, he just has to choose what takes a priority when it becomes too stressful, and some work is not as important as other work.

Anna Fiolek ’13, a member of the varsity volleyball team, said that sometimes the stress gets to her and it becomes more than she can handle.

“Sometimes I put less effort into homework and studying not because I care more about sports than school, but just because I am tired and don’t have enough energy to put into studying after a long day of work at school, then volleyball, then hours of more work,” Fiolek said.

The stress of homework and sports not only affects Fiolek’s schoolwork, but also takes a toll on her performance at volleyball.

“For me I think that being stressed affects me physically and mentally- I won’t play as well and I won’t work as hard in school,” Fiolek said.

Scholar athletes at Staples have come to love the commitments they make and they actually find that having other commitments outside of academics, they can get what they need to get done, done.

“Although being a scholar-athlete may sound stressful and busy, I definitely enjoy the benefits of both, and have a ton of fun doing it,” Hickok said.

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