Pondering why some lose heart at high school level

As if the current season hasn't been tough enough for the Osage wrestlers, the team was hit with another salvo last week when three of the athletes decided that participation was no longer in their plans.

Three may not sound like a major dent in personnel until you take into consideration that there are only 14 weight classes in a typical match. Doing the math, those three wrestlers represent over 21 percent of the starting lineup--a major blow to any team.

When asked by The Lake Today, head coach Randy Satterlee indicated that the individuals told him that their hearts just weren't in it anymore.

Identifying the individuals is really irrelevant here. The real question is why would a kid "lose heart" this far into the season?

Pose that question to ten different people and you’ll probably get ten different answers. Some of the obvious answers would include not seeing eye-to-eye with the coach, interfering with studies or social activities, not allowing for gainful employment, and burnout.

There is one common thread directly tied to four of the five possible reasons already cited--time.

Let’s do more math. There are only 168 hours in any given week.

Take away time to sleep, eat meals throughout the week, going back and forth to school, attending classes, practicing for a chosen sport, studying every night, playing video games, going to Church, checking out Facebook, sending text messages, and winding down time-it all adds up to about 160 hours leaving only eight hours of "free time" each and every week.

INSERT EDITOR'S NOTE: This is not to imply any of the wrestlers mentioned or any other kid (my own included) lives verbatim by the described timeline. The numbers are tossed out only as a general stereotype of most teenagers I personally know.

With that said, it would appear that participation in a school sponsored sport takes up to about 20 hours a week on top of the 50 hours connected with being a student. That can almost compare to having two fulltime jobs.

It’s beginning to become evident why some kids “lose heart” when it comes to extracurricular activities. Not only do they have very little personal time but the pressure to perform put on them by coaches, parents, friends, and themselves can be counter-productive to the main purpose of extracurricular activities—to have fun and develop their skills for, possibly, competing at the next level.

Those time constraints do not even take into consideration the extra time spent by some at Osage participating in dual sports.

Is there a solution? Should we shorten the school day and lengthen the school year? Should we shorten the sports seasons or further limit the time our student-athletes can participate?

There really is no right or wrong answer. It is not our duty to be judge and jury but rather to be parents and guardians. We may not always agree with our kids’ choices, but we must also remember that they are just kids and we should support their decisions.

As always, agree or disagree, send comments to: mike@thelaketoday.com.

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