Steep Decline of Multi-Sport Athletes at Staples


Jackson Livingstone, Staff Writer

Success in athletics has always been a point of pride for Staples High School. While its students have consistently shone on the field, track and court for decades, one thing has been noticeably different in recent years: fewer players participate in multiple sports.

The decline of the three sport star can be attributed to the common trend of specialization in high school sports. Derived from a desire to play in college or professionally, standout athletes are often pushed to pick one sport in hopes of reaching a higher level, while also being able to balance their academics.

“I think I decided to only play football because it was my favorite sport… it somewhat helped me become a better football player, but in the past I think other sports had helped me get better footwork and coordination,” Jackson Ward ’16, a Staples football captain and Harvard football commit, said.

In addition, many athletes think that playing multiple sports will affect their school work and sleep schedule.

“My schoolwork definitely suffers during soccer season; it’s just so much harder when you get home late and have less time to work,” Izzy Baildon ’17 said.

In a college-crazy town like Westport, academics are often emphasized over sports for all but those who are playing in college, leading to a tough balancing act for the few who eschew specialization.

One such student is Keiran Simunovic ’16, a varsity player on the football, basketball and volleyball teams. The oldest child in a family of six kids, he says being a leader and setting a good example is at the heart of his commitment to athletics.

“I’m just trying to start a trend for my family and really create a dynasty that will last for years at Staples,” Simunovic said.

The number of true three sport athletes have definitely been dwindling at Staples over the past few years. Outside of runners who participate in all three different seasons for the track team, athletes like Simunovic have become rare.

“Playing three sports is really time consuming, having an after school activity almost every day of the year is too much for most people,” Ward said.

He is assuredly right, as in modern high school sports, playing over multiple seasons has become a burden that few are willing to bear.