Never an off-season
Students do both school and club teams
December 14, 2018
15 hours is a typical amount of time an athlete spends on their sports a week, not including hours that might be spent on the weekend doing competitions, meets and tournaments.
For an athlete, their season (usually 6-7 months) is where athletes push their hardest, honing in on their skills and competing in meets, games or competitions. After their season ends, students usually have 5 months to rest, improve and prepare for the season to come. However, some students have taken this break as time to join outside teams and gain more experience.
Kelsey Rothas, junior who does gymnastics inside and out of school, her love for gymnastics allows her to genuinely enjoy going to practice and have the desire to be successful. Having a positive mentality going into practice helps with confidence and makes it more enjoyable, Rothas said.
“[Doing Gymnastics outside of school] keeps me in shape all season long, so for when I come back [to the school season] I’m not sore and I have all my skills,” Rothas said. “I definitely do gymnastics and track out of the season because I enjoy doing them, it’s not a punishment. I genuinely enjoy going to practice and working out. It definitely helps [with my mentality at practice] because I become more confident in myself since I’ve had a lot more practice and I’m not coming off of not doing it for a long period of time.”
Being conditioned and improving skills is a big reason why a lot of students so offseason teams, however Jack Shelby, freshman who does travel hockey and plans to high school hockey later in his high school career, has found friends among his teammates and players from other teams.
“It keeps me conditioned over the years and I gain a lot more friends from doing [hockey]. You meet so many people, from the people on your team and the people on other teams that you can always count on.” Shelby said. “From different teams I have a bunch of kids snapchats and we always communicate. It fun because it’s not always about just your team, you can always hang out with other people from different teams and nobody really cares about it.”
Kennedy Williams, sophomore softball player, to invests her time and money into playing the sport she loves and feels that she belongs too inside and out of school. The schedule is long and grueling but Williams fights through it because she’s passionate about what she does.
“I thought about trying other sports out at a young age because you usually want to start a sport early so that you can be at the same level as your peers because it’s not just about talent, it’s about of the mechanics of each sport,” Williams, who is on the high school varsity softball team and Illinois sluggers which is a club team, said. “I’m more of a mental person, a lot of sayings in softball and baseball is that the sport is 90 percent mental. I feel like I was meant to do this sport because I love the competitiveness, I love [how you get to bond with your team], and I love the sport itself. Just the concept of it, how your brain always has to keep going, knowing where the play is, knowing where you need to hit the ball, knowing where you need to throw it, how to get the person on third or second to get to home to score.”
The passion for their sport behind the drive to do better is a main reason why student athletes to do offseason teams, Williams shows how her dedication for the sport is not just because she has to, she wants to work hard and get better because she loves what she does. However sometimes the sport she loves can intervene with school work.
“Honestly it’s a lot. It’s a great life lesson to manage time because usually, including in the school season, I go from practice, to game, to homework/study, and then I go to sleep. Honestly I love softball, or else I would have dropped it awhile ago, then again it is a lot on my body,” Williams said. “Sometimes my grades will take a toll from it because one weekend I’ll have a huge tournament and we’ll go deep into Sunday maybe until [the championship of that tournament] and I won’t get home until 7:30-9:00 at night and I haven’t started any of my homework.”
School is important and student athletes have to manage their time in order to achieve greatness in both the academic and athletic world. It can be tough but if you work hard and are dedicated it’s worth it because you’re able to keep doing what you love, William said.
“It’s honestly just the thrill of it, not just being in the game or games it’s being in practices. Even though sometimes the work gets boring and your doing the same thing over and over again, you understand because you have a purpose doing it, every time,” Williams said.