Athletics or Art? The Struggle of Student Athletes

Artwork by Eli Cantor: Students at MHS have trouble juggling athletics with activities in the arts.

Students at Mamaroneck High School are very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a variety of strong and outstanding programs. These programs include sports teams, PACE, band, orchestra, chorus, art, photography… the list goes on. Many students at MHS are active in one of these programs, but those who are involved in two or more have to deal with a demanding schedule. They often have to drop one activity in order to be actively involved in another. Concerts, art shows, and rehearsals often overlap with games and practices, and student-athletes are often forced to decide which event they should attend. Leaving a practice early for a show may affect the athlete’s playing time in their next game. However, skipping a concert for a game may affect one’s grade for that class. This idea doesn’t solely apply to single events; this goes for month-long rehearsals and sports. For example, a student wanting to act in the Shakespeare show and be on the wrestling team would have to choose one program. After interviewing a few athletes participating in the arts programs, they all believed that it is possible to make the schedules of the school’s activities be structured in a way that the rehearsals, games and shows don’t overlap or sit right on top of one another. By doing this, students won’t have to prioritize one activity over the other and truly have unlimited access to the great programs MHS has to offer.

Annabel Summo ’19, was hoping to perform in Kinesthesia, a winter show that PACE offers to its students. However, she was also planning to try out for the basketball team during the same week as the show’s rehearsals. The rehearsals and practices had too many conflicts and Summo decided to try out for basketball to avoid trying to balance the two. She said, “It’s completely unfair because having to make that choice is hard and either way you will be letting people down. It’s not right to have to choose between two things that you enjoy doing.” Summo was equally committed to the two organizations. But if she were to do both she would have been constantly running from one to the other or skipping one. Student athletes in these situations feel that they are misleading their coaches, teammates, and directors because it seems like they are losing their passion for the activity.

Other students have had to deal with similar problems this year. Ali James, ’19, who is on the Varsity basketball team and in the orchestra, had to run from practice to make it to the winter concert. When asked if she thought this was a stressful time she said, “Yes, because arts and sports are something that everyone in high school should have the opportunity to participate in, and as high school students, we shouldn’t have to feel like we are picking one over the other.” Commitment is key when it comes to being a member of an organization. Having to sacrifice an event in order to attend another shouldn’t be something that is held against a student, especially when the organizers of each program don’t communicate with one another. “A lot of the girls are very committed to a variety of programs at our school and it›s important that we let the girls have access to all of them. I think if we had a calendar of everyones’ activities and held meetings at the beginning of each season to discuss the scheduling of PACE shows, choir concerts and practices to avoid conflict that would help a lot” said Danielle DeAndrea, the varsity girls basketball coach. James agreed that the sports and arts staff should collaborate more so student’s schedules consist of fewer conflicts. Doing this would not only benefit the students, but also the organizers of programs as they wouldn’t be so fearful of losing a player or member to another organization.

Alex Herzig, ’20, is a freshman involved in the school musical and on the Cross Country team. Even though he is only in his first year of high school, he has already had to choose between the two activities many times. When asked about his experiences, he said, “It seems that there is no communication between coaches and directors, and that for the amount of options in our school, many people are limited to a few…as they are forced to prioritize.” Most of these students felt that more communication among the staff would help avoid this inevitable prioritization.

Most students at MHS are eager to take advantage of the access to the phenomenal programs our school has to offer. But when these organizations conflict with others, students are limited to the number of programs they can actively participate in. Having the leaders of these programs communicate with each other to avoid schedule clashes will allow for students to become more involved in the organizations our school has to offer, creating a wellrounded student body

By Lindsey Randall

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