Once upon a time, sports were played for enjoyment

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Once upon a time, sports were played for enjoyment

Jesse Levinson, Staff Writer

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The word “fall” was once benign to me. When the leaves began to change and the outside air became just the slightest bit colder, I referred to the upcoming months as “soccer season.” The same can be said for winter; when the onslaught of snow prevented me from dribbling outside, I knew it was time to head to the courts for basketball season. Finally, when the temperature no longer dropped below freezing and the snow began to thaw, lacrosse season had arrived.

Clearly, I was once a sports fanatic. However, as I quickly became aware that my childhood fantasy of becoming a professional tri-sport athlete was, to say the least, improbable, sports became more of a hobby than a lifestyle.  

Still, I often found that there was nothing I enjoyed more than competing in the final minutes of a basketball game, or even practicing my lacrosse shot in solitude. So when the prospect of Staples athletics became a reality, my participating in the basketball and lacrosse teams was a no brainer.

Yet, my experiences did not go as well as I both hoped and expected.

It wasn’t the increased level of play nor the strength of senior athletes that got the best of me. Rather, having to practice everyday of the week wore me down, for all I wanted to do after a long, grueling day of school was to go home, eat and relax.

By the time I finished my freshman year and a season of basketball and lacrosse, I had begun to consider sports a commitment– not a passion.

So why do coaches feel the need to avoid giving their players a break and limiting the amount of practices?

Well, they believe that, the more practice time a team can get in, the better it does come game-time. There is also the argument that players must constantly condition in order to maintain a high level of fitness.

However, many players and coaches seem to avoid the blatant truth that mental health is just as, if not more, important than physical health.

Just look at the boy’s varsity basketball schedule. They have at least two games a week, and in the days between they likely have practice. Considering that both the games and practices are after school, players also have to find the time to complete their homework.

This not only results in players’ staying up later each night to finish that last sheet of math, but it also causes higher levels of stress. I mean, how would you feel if you had to start your homework at 9:00 after playing an intensive game of basketball?

Now, there is nothing wrong with mandating a high level of commitment from players in high school sports. I simply believe that teams should consider taking a day off from practice every once in awhile.

Maybe by being given the opportunity to catch up on some rest, athletes would find it easier to enjoy playing the sports they love.

Maybe it isn’t too late for people like me to rekindle our youthful passion.