Nearly half a million students are involved in athletics across the United States. Nearly half a million students are student athletes representing their school and finding balance between education and sports. Four hundred out of those half million students are here participating in the athletic programs at Central Bucks South.
There are 18 sports offered at CB South. In order to participate in a sport, students must meet the requirements of maintaining at least a “C” letter grade average.
In addition to maintaining a passing grade, student athletes must put their sport before anything else; work, other sports, travel programs or invalid excuses are not tolerated as reasons not to show up every day to practice and attend every game.
Julia Vit, sophomore, runs track and cross country for CB South. Julia runs six days a week, averaging 10-12 hours weekly. Julia runs from 2:30pm-5pm every day after school, then at Saturday morning practices from 8-10 am.
“I wake up, go to school, go to practice, come home, eat dinner, do homework, then go to bed,” Julia said. “There is no doubt, everyday my life is stressful, but the happiness I get out of track is unexplainable.”
Julia added that keeping up with her social life is easy because all her friends play school sports as well, so they all hang out after their practices. Julia said that there are indeed times where she has had to miss a Friday or Saturday night party to be at track, but she is with her close friends anyways.
“The friendships are closer here at track than with most people I have known my whole life,” she said.
Although Julia said that there have been multiple times that she considered quitting track, she said that “running makes me happy, I forget about the school and stress. The hardest part about being a student athlete is when you face a period of time where you are not succeeding, because it makes you question why you are even playing this sport in the first place.”
The hardest part of track, Julia described, was competing with herself. “Track is a mental sport. I am only as good as I push myself to be, and only I can determine my success.”
She added that competing with other schools is challenging because there is are vast number of schools with students who practice for hours every day, all believing that their school is the best, all wanting to win the same title.
She said that being a student athlete has helped her learn time management and understand the importance of good grades in school. Julia added that she “developed organization and management skills that will take me past CB South.”
Being a student athlete has “created friendships that I would never have had before” and the people she has met from school sports are her “best friends on and off the track.”
She added, “Being a student athlete is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It isn’t track that I’m grateful for, it’s the opportunities that South allows me to take and run with.”
While track is a very competitive outdoor sport that many student athletes participate in, the indoor sports at CB South require the same mental discipline and hard work as that outdoors.
Joy Schwedler, junior, swims for CB South. Joy swims five days a week, averaging 12-14 hours of swimming weekly. Joy swims throughout fall, winter, spring and summer for CB South.
Joy described her day of being a student athlete as getting up at 4:50am for lifting, going to classes, swimming after school from 2:30pm-5:15pm, doing homework, eating dinner, then going to bed.
Joy said that her days are indeed “long” and “stressful,” but she has been swimming for as long as she can remember and does not know what she would do without swim.
“I think about quitting every day, but I would be lost not swimming,” Joy said. “It causes stress, but also makes me happier than anything else.”
Joy added, “All my closest friends have come from swim. I grew up swimming with a lot of my friends and coming to South created even more friendships with people who are now my best friends.”
Joy explained that “swimming has pushed me to be a better person inside and outside of the classroom. It helps me to maintain my focus on school and athletics, which I know I will thank myself for in the future.”
Enjoying the competition that being a student athlete brings, Joy loves it because it includes students from all over, all pushing to be the best of the best. “Being a student athlete,” Joy said, “has molded me into the person that I strive to become and taught me a lot of management that I can use in the future.”
The most challenging part, Joy described, was “wanting to quit, but knowing the outcome of quitting. I may dread the repetition of practices, the feeling of not doing as good as I know I can, or even just the motivation to do it every day; without swim for a day though, I would lose everything I have ever worked for and pushed myself to become.”
Swim is about speed and stroke; to win, competitors must do well and be faster than everyone else. Sports such as softball, however, are about knowing the game and understanding every play.
Olivia Zoolalian, senior, plays softball for CB South. Olivia practices five days a week, averaging 9-11 hours weekly. Olivia practices every day after school from 2:30pm-5pm, on top of travel softball every Saturday and Sunday.
“I wake up, go to school then softball, come home, eat dinner quickly, go to my travel practice, then come home-do homework and go to bed.” Olivia described her daily day as “mentally testing and very stressful.”
Keeping up her friends, Olivia added, “is easy because my true friends have all come from softball. When I was younger, I believed my in-house softball friends would be my forever buddies, but being a student athlete at South has exposed me to the many great people in my life now.”
“Softball has been a part of my life since I grew up,” Olivia said. “It is the sport that I learned to love and develop a passion for-South just helped me develop a deeper love for the game.”
“Have I thought about quitting?’ Olivia asked. “Almost once a week. I always go back and forth with myself, contemplating if I really want to play or not.”
Olivia added that “while keeping up with grades and friends is difficult, I get more happiness in one softball game then I do in an entire week without it-the feeling is what keeps me going back.”
Julia, Joy and Olivia touched upon the idea that being a student athlete has helped them develop life skills and create friendships that will take them past high school.
It is clear that CB South offers an amazing sports program to all their students, and while being an athlete and keeping up with schoolwork is tough, it creates memories that will last forever.