Balancing athletics and academics

Rebecca Dworkin, Opinion Editor

The life of a student athlete is complicated. It’s busy, exhausting, and stressful. But it’s also fulfilling and gratifying.

An athlete’s life in high school is either concluded with a chance to play in college, or simply leaving with the good memories from past years of playing. Regardless, high school athletics provide more than just a good chance to get in shape.

People always make the argument that participating in sports leads to higher GPAs. The limited time that athletes have by the time they have finished school and practice urges them to get more work done, in a shorter period of time.

The idea is that athletics teach students good time management skills as well as provide a sense of accomplishment, pride, and motivation to do well in all aspects of life.

But when does it become too much?

Too often, athletes are forced to prioritize. Because sports are such a great part of their lives, they need a good diet, lots of sleep, and a positive mental state.

Unfortunately, late practices and games that are physically demanding lead students to perform not as well as they would have in both academics and athletics if they had gotten a good night’s sleep and had plenty of focus and energy left.

No one can do everything. There is a thin line when balancing academics and athletics, and some are lucky enough to know their limits. Athletes need to acknowledge their priorities and devise a plan that best accomplishes what they want.

Mental health is so important, but so overlooked.

Missing school to go to games and athletic events leads to athletes falling behind in their classes.

Slipping grades can provoke even more stress and anxiety, which then in turn affects athletes’ athletic performance.

Mental health is important for everyone, but especially for athletes. Too often it is overlooked and ignored, but a positive and healthy mental state is crucial to athletes’ ability to perform with excellence across all aspects of life, including academics as well as athletics.

For many, athletics are something they want to pursue in college and maybe even to the professional level. But, the level of commitment is different for each person.

Sports are not meant to tear you apart. They are meant as a way to escape, have fun and maybe even blow off a little steam.

Sports teach skills that the classroom cannot.

Athletes learn leadership, collaboration, hard work, and mental and physical determination.

Athletes learn how to push through their discomfort and power forward. Determination is so important, yet nearly impossible to teach.

At the end of the day, it is important for students to recognize how their academic goals translate to their athletic goals and vice versa. What they are working towards, whether it be athletics or academics, should be at the top of a student athlete’s list of priorities.