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The Occidentalist

The Occidentalist


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Finding the Balance Between Travel Sports and School

Graphic Credit: C. Copenhaver/staff

  Every school year, numerous student-athletes participate in travel sports outside of the school program. These students spend most of their free time and weekends playing and participating in the sport that they love the most. Freshman Elle Johnson enjoys playing volleyball and travels from Jan. to June with the program Northshore Volleyball.

  “Yes, my sport is local. For me, practice is usually about fifteen minutes away, [but] for tournaments I think the furthest I’ve had to travel is Kentucky or Florida. Usually we play in the Detroit and Grand Rapids area,” Johnson said.

  Students involved in travel sports that travel on weekends have all agreed to often have less time to complete their work when they are traveling. Unfinished schoolwork and homework have to get done somehow, so sometimes studying takes sleeping hours away. Freshman athlete Robert Counselor plays hockey, baseball and football. He is always traveling and always has homework to do.

  “I usually have to sacrifice sleep on weeknights and weekends to get my schoolwork done in time for the deadlines and due dates,” Counselor said.

  Freshman Noah Roskam plays travel hockey and finds himself in the same situation as many others who travel. Sacrificing sleep and participating in other fun activities, such as hanging out with close friends, just to get your missing assignments done and turned in.

  “Yes I find myself more behind on work when I am traveling, because sometimes we have to leave school early, which sometimes means having to do make-up work or take the classwork as homework. [As a result,] I am doing homework or studying while in the car or in hotel rooms,” Roskam said.

  The class that gives out the most homework is the class that most athletes dedicate their studying hours too. Sometimes all of their classes give out lots of homework and they have to give away all of their freetime to studying and homework. 

  “I think my math class gives out the most work because [my teacher]gives out a homework sheet every day until Friday,” Johnson said.

  Staying on top of homework and classwork is one of the most important and stressful aspects that student athletes have to juggle. Student-athletes don’t receive breaks most of the time either. With most of their assignments and tests being weighted and a big part of their final grade, these students have to find a way to study on the go, learn, and get good grades on the assessments. Their strategies can be anywhere from simply using a planner to dedicating parts of their day to school related activities such as homework.

  “I have a planner that I use to make sure that I get all of my stuff in when it’s due and to help to make sure that I don’t have anything turned in late,” Johnson said.

  Planners work best when they are checked multiple times a day and when they are kept up to date so they can serve their purpose. Planners help students who have homework daily and need somewhere to write down their assignments to do so that they do not forget and potentially fall behind. Other students use other platforms instead of a planner. For example, Google slides of their homework assignments for each class are also a very popular way to remember assignments.

  Most students might have their best study and work time on the drive down and back from their tournaments because the car ride is usually quiet and peaceful.

  “When I get pulled out of school early, usually on Fridays, I dedicate the entire car ride to whatever schoolwork or homework that I had been assigned for that week,” Roskam said.

  Roskam, Johnson and Counselor all travel downstate frequently enough to have a four hour car ride on the weekends sometimes. 

  “I normally travel on Fridays for weekend tournaments,” Counselor said.

  The athletes may have to leave early in the morning on Saturdays or early afternoons on Friday’s because they have the morning wave of gameplay. Meaning they possibly have to play at seven or eight am. This means they could start playing as early as 7 or 8 a.m.

  “The competition is super competitive and it really pressures me to try my best [in terms of balancing school and sports],” Johnson said.

  The competition is what makes or breaks the traveling aspect for some students. For others, it’s the time of the year that the traveling takes place. For Johnson, it is in the peak of winter season and the start of spring that she is traveling on the roads. 

  “I really enjoy the memories that I get when I am traveling with my team to tournaments, and the lessons we learn along the way. It helps us grow closer and bond with each other as a team,” Johnson said.

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About the Contributor
Marissa Ansorge
Marissa Ansorge, Page Designer
Marissa Ansorge is a freshman in her first year of newspaper. Marissa chose to take this class because she wanted to try something new that the middle school didn’t have to offer. Marissa is a journalist for the newspaper team. Marissa enjoys playing travel volleyball in her free time and hanging out with her friends.

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    Stella CraterNov 7, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    wow, Marissa is really SETTING “the occidentalist” up for success this school year. impressive!

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    Stella CraterNov 7, 2023 at 4:23 pm

    this rocks!!!❤