Into the lives of athletes

By Shannon McKenna
Round Table editor

Her blood is pumping as thHer blood is pumping as the event is about to begin. Her eyes move across the pool, scanning the competition. Cocky and ready to win her heat, she oozes confidence as the time counts down to the 200 IM race. The coaches knock her back into reality as they shout encouraging words over the other voices echoing in the room. The sounds of her team cheering her on can be heard behind her as she slowly fades into her zone, ready for the race to start. The announcer signals that the race is about to begin as two girls dressed in slick black swimsuits branded with classic orange Ms and their bright orange caps with similar black Ms walk out ready to face Thomas Johnson’s swimmer, masquerading as a patriot in a red, white and blue swimsuit. Just before they make their way to their lanes, sophomore Sarah Weltman leans over to her teammate and whispers, “Let’s do this.”

 Student-athletes like Weltman enjoy everything that comes with participating in a high school sport:  the rush, the competition, and the comradery.  But those pleasures do not come without a price; for many students, that price is time spent with friends, with family and on schoolwork.  Nonetheless, those who strive to be the best – and especially those hoping to compete on the college level – understand that there are sacrifices to be made.  Achieving that balance between sport and personal life becomes a perpetual struggle.

  “I make sure to work hard during both swimming and when I’m at home doing school work. Supporting my fellow team members is also important because I have to be there for my team all the time, not just during the season,” said Weltman.

 In order to be successful on and off the field, high school athletes need to take control of their lives and be proactive in their schoolwork and in how they spend their free time. By taking responsibility for the other aspects of their lives, they can achieve that delicate balance that is so difficult to obtain.

 “On the weekends I like to relax and hang with friends so I can catch up on everything that I missed during the week because of practice,” says junior Connor Mills.

 Working hard to prepare for the future is usually what separates the athletes who plan to have a future in sports from those who are unlikely to play beyond high school. By being focused and working to improve their skills, the athletes may enhance their skills in that sport. Although it can be a challenge, the results can be worthwhile.

 “I always give one hundred and ten percent all the time and I never give up. I never leave the court without feeling like I gave my all during the game,” said junior Caitlin Roy.

 The competition for high-schoolers to become college athletes has become increasingly more difficult; those who rise to the challenge keep their minds focused on their sports but also make time for fun. When planning their futures, they are the ones that who come out as the winners.

 “It’s important to focus on doing your personal best at everything rather than to try to prove yourself to others, because it is your future and accomplishments, not anyone else’s,” said senior Cloe Ayenu.

 Proving to colleges that they’re the right students sometimes isn’t the easiest task. It’s hard to keep everything in order because they have to keep their grades up, attend all of their after school activities, make time for friends and family, and just relax. 

 “I know I stand out to the coaches when I work hard and give a one hundred percent effort all of the time because the coaches commend me for doing something right,” said freshmen Justin Hohl.

 Coaches strive to encourage team effort, respect and hard work to prepare athletes for the future while teaching them life lessons. Football coach Kevin Lynott knows the difference between the athletes that are motivated to achieve more in sports and those who play for fun.

 “You can really tell the athletes apart. Those that are holding back in the game, we call them selfish; there are 51 other guys that are counting on him no matter what his job is or how much he plays during the game or practice. We always stress that they need to do their job,” said Lynott.

 Athletes follow a strict pattern to stay on top of their game. Discipline, being on time, and avoiding distractions are the three main rules they follow because, in life, they need to learn to prioritize the things that are most important to them.

 “I play the best I can. No man who tried his best ever regretted it; I’m not the best at everything, I’m not the fastest or the strongest, I have a lot of heart and drive and determination it helps me to improve day by day,” said sophomore Jake Dziubla.