Seniors say goodbye to their high school sports.
by Maggie Luke and Lauren Downs
Senior Lauren Luongo finished her last game of volleyball in high school as a state champion. She wrapped up years of hard work and dedication on what she considers the best note possible. Many athletes have been playing their sport since they could walk. While some will have a chance to continue their athletic journey at college, many will hang up their cleats, lay down their gloves, and move on to college to focus on their education.
“I decided not to play volleyball in college because I really wanted the college experience,” Luongo said. “I’d rather be focused on getting my education to start preparing for a job as quickly as I can rather than focusing on a sport that will only last me another four years.”
According to CNN, Division One college football players practice about 14 hours a day during orientation week and during season work 50-60 hours a week. This can be a staggering amount of time put towards practice. “I think it would be a huge time commitment. I want to study pre-med, so I don’t think I’d have time to play sports,” said senior soccer player Eddie Zhang.
Deciding to let go of a sport that has been an important part of your life for years does not come overnight. Athletes may feel pressure from coaches and parents to play in college, especially if it means a possible scholarship. “It was a long debate with myself on whether or not to play in college,” said senior lacrosse and field hockey player Layla Purdy. “Many of my coaches and friends wanted me to play, but I decided against it so I could focus on my schoolwork and getting my degree
Being a student athlete has been a full time job for some seniors and is their biggest form of exercise. In order to fight the freshman 15, some will need to find other activities to keep them busy and in shape. Purdy, who will be attending Hawaii Pacific University, is hoping to take up surfing because Pacific does not offer intramural lacrosse or field hockey. Senior golfer Jonathan Reeder, although he was offered a golf scholarship to University of Virginia Wesleyan, will choose to play golf for fun at Anne Arundel Community College next year.
College offers new opportunities and a new chapter in teenage lives. Although it’s very exciting, it can also be bittersweet. “I know I’m going to miss it a lot,” said Luongo. “I grew up always playing a sport and not having that team, the adrenaline, the desire is going to be different. Sports have shaped me into the person that I am today and it will definitely be weird.”
As these teens put away their gear they get ready for another chapter in their lives, college is on their horizons and they are going to take the time to enjoy it. They will always be remembered as great athletes, but will be focusing on their academics in the fall.