The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

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Opinion: Sports need to be more accessible

The+different+struggles+of+being+in+sports.
Natalie Heckert
The different struggles of being in sports.

Sports require a lot of resources. Some of these are obvious like practice space and equipment but others are more overlooked like the time, money and overall commitment needed.
Sports also require a lot of money and time commitment, which can make sports unattainable for some kids. Families pay an average of $800 per year for one child’s sport, this includes registration fees, uniforms and equipment.
As athletes get better at their sport, they start to require more practice to improve. Private lessons are one way that athletes can further their progress beyond what they get from normal practices. Private lessons can cost anywhere from $30 to $100 an hour.
Another way athletes can improve are skill clinics and off-season camps. These week-long training camps can cost up to $500. And finally, to top all of the basic costs and improvement costs off, many sports also offer travel options which can quickly shoot the overall price into the thousands.
Along with the outrageous costs of sports, they’re also huge time commitments for both the athlete and their parents. Parents must work around their work schedules to drive their kids to and from each practice or game, all while also paying for gas.
To add to that, families can run into issues with transportation when practice times get unreasonable. For example, it might be hard for a parent to get their kid to swim practice at 4A.M. because they’re busy getting themselves ready for their work day.
While carpooling is the most reasonable option to overcome this, it can be hard to coordinate and some athletes may live too far from the rest of the team for it to be a viable option.
Over the years, the amount of time athletes commit to their sports will continue to grow as their commitment to the sport grows, and eventually they’ll be driving themselves to practice, laying the drive time and gas money on to them.
In high school, athletes have 7 hour school days and practice after with little to no turnaround time. After an average one and a half hour practice, students want to rest, but they can’t because they still have to do their homework. Finally, after finishing all of their homework the athlete can finally rest… then repeat it all the next day.
Student athletes can easily become drained from this cycle which then overrides the benefits that come with sports.
Sports can benefit students’ academics, physical health, self-esteem and teamwork. These are crucial factors that will help athletes as they continue the rest of their lives after sports in the workplace and as functional members of society.
Mental health is an incredibly important topic when talking about high schoolers because over 40% of teens deal with mental health issues, but luckily, sports are often connected to lower rates of anxiety, depression and stress. The fact that sports can boost mental health for teenagers just makes their accessibility to them even more vital
However, due to the finances and time commitments required, sports can be impossible for some people to do. Some things that should be done to combat these issues and make sports more accessible are more grants/sponsors, equipment sharing and practice limits.
Athletes can apply for grant programs, which assist families and teams in paying for some of the cost. Teams should also look into sponsors; they can be paid by big companies to put their logo on their jerseys and it will alleviate some cost off the athletes.
Equipment sharing is another thing athletes and former athletes should do. Once an athlete’s sports career is over they should pass on any equipment, that’s in good condition, on to those who need it, rather than them buying brand-new stuff.
Lastly, to focus on time commitments, sports should limit practice hours. Limiting the amount of hours spent training, doing video analysis and team meetings would make sports more manageable for students.
These limits will give students extra relaxation time which will in turn help with mental drain caused by overexhaustion with the mix of school and sports and these financial solutions will help everyone enjoy participating in their favorite sport.

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About the Contributor
Natalie Heckert, Staff Writer
Natalie Heckert (she/her) is a junior at Hayes. This is her first year on staff. She dances competitively at Performing Arts Dance Centre and races for the Possum Run Ski Team. In her free time, she likes to hang out with friends, listen to music, read, and create art.
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