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The Trouble with Sports

Especially this time of year, at the height of the spring sports season, grades begin to suffer.

Brandon Huffman

April 22, 2013

The Trouble with Sports
Many students are involved in sports these days. If you walk down the halls of your high school, or your college campus, there is an extremely good chance that you will see more than a handful of students involved in some type of sport. Those of us who are involved in sports understand how time-consuming they can be, but we also know how worth it they are. That feeling you get when you are out there on the field or court—you’re sweating and your muscles are sore—but you can feel victory inches from your grasp; there is no other feeling like it. There are also countless students who are involved in more than one sport; some even have three or four. Participating in sports give us a feeling that very few other things can give us, a feeling of getting into shape, putting 100% into something larger than just you, and belonging to a team, that feeling is priceless.

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Sports help us develop a sense of identity and belonging, they bring us out of our shells and we sometimes fall in love with them. Sports can even sometimes become our entire lives and the only thing we care about, participate in and excel in. That extreme love of sports can sometimes hurt our grades. You may be someone who is top of your class and is extremely gifted academically, but when your sports season rolls around, your mind diverges onto a new path. Sports become a large portion of your life and you dedicate yourself to after school practices and games. Especially this time of year, at the height of the spring sports season, our grades begin to suffer. I've learned a couple things that have helped me keep up with my grades without letting my athletics suffer either.

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From one sports addict to another, I’m willing to share my strategies:
1. Take homework with you.

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We all know how long our matches can get, especially if they’re away, so I've started taking my homework with me on the bus and doing as much as I can there. I know what you’re thinking, “Homework on the bus? Loser.” Trust me, I know. That’s why I was so reluctant to do it at first, but once I started and realized how much less I had to stress about it later when I got home. I was home, I was exhausted, and my homework was done, so I passed out. This is a small step that many people don’t want to do, but you’d be surprised at its efficiency. 2. Prioritize. So just picture it: you’re under the lights of a big game and your adrenaline is pumping, you go to score a point/goal and you get it and it puts your team in the lead. It’s a fantastic feeling that I believe everyone should experience, but they can’t all be big games. Sometimes when your grades and rank are dropping, something needs to give somewhere. Coaches will understand if you have to miss a couple practices in order to study for the biggest test of the year. They may not like it and they may argue, but if you show them that you have the incentive and drive to do well academically, they’ll appreciate and respect that (at least most coaches will). 3. Study at practice. I know this seems like a ridiculous concept but I’m not talking about running around the field with flashcards and a notebook, that’s a little too much, even for me. No, what I’m saying is when you’re running or doing training exercises, there isn't too much going through your mind in most cases. If you are running and you can just briefly run over a lesson or a few key points from a lesson to help you remember them for the test, do it. I started doing that at tennis practices when we were doing our insane amounts of running, and I found myself having to actually study less and be able to spend more time doing other important things. This has been said a lot through the generations, as well as from every adult ever (probably a slight exaggeration, but why not?) - it’s all about balance. If you can find one or two things that work for you during the sports season to help maintain your grades, stick with them. They may not be my techniques, but if you can find time to play sports, study and do well academically during those sports AND still get a reasonable amount of sleep, I’d say you are winning at life (or at least beating most people at the game).

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