Sports team rule prevents students from going on vacation

Caitllin Maley, Staff Writer

Students on varsity sport teams are forced to stay home during vacation because team practices are held every day except Sundays and certain federal holidays. This is a rule that needs to be reconsidered.  School breaks are designed not only to celebrate holidays but to provide students with a much-needed break from schoolwork.  In order to achieve their full academic potential, students need these mental breaks to ensure that they can work efficiently.

Athletes require the same rest and relaxation as anyone else.

“It is really difficult to wake up early, even on vacation days, to practice for two hours,” said senior Daniel Dash.

Athletes practice for at least two hours a day for weeks in a row.  A break from practice allows their bodies to rest from the continuous strain practice puts on them.

A coach may want athletes to continue practicing over vacation so that their players will not forget strategies or important plays. Coaches may also feel playing during vacation allows for extra games, and can extend the season.

By practicing over school breaks athletes are unable to go on vacation.  The coaches’ concern is that if multiple students begin to take vacation time during the season, there would not be enough players to field a full team, and coaches would have to forfeit their games.  However, this could be avoided if the coach knew about vacations before tryouts even begin in order to make schedules well ahead of time.

Currently, athletes miss out on incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as the foreign language trip.

“Because I play a sport, I have to choose between going on the school trip to Spain and Portugal and my season.  I had to miss out on the chance of traveling the world with my classmates,” said senior Lia Cotsonas.

Spring athletes are forced to choose between an opportunity to learn about and experience cultures around the world, and the sport which they love and have played for years.   Athletes can not go on the trip because of an athletic department rule, which strictly prohibits them from going away during vacation.  However, exceptions to the rule are made for school sanctioned trips, such as field trips or research competitions.  These events enrich the student’s understanding of a certain topic, but the foreign language trip serves the same purpose.

This outdated rule forces students to choose between opportunities.  Numerous students are unable to try out for their favorite sports because of vacations they have planned months in advance.

“I wish I could try out for a winter sport, but my parents will not let me miss a family vacation,” said freshman Allison Maley.  “I should be able to enjoy my time with my family and be involved in after-school activities instead of being forced to choose.”

Other students have the same dilemma.  Parents are unwilling to let students stay home alone, and are therefore unable to participate in sports.  In many cases, it is not simply a recreational vacation that must be missed.  Family events such as weddings, milestone birthday parties that are held out of town, and family reunions are also included.

There are many reasons student athletes choose not to participate in seasonal sports. The dilemma faced by many students seems unnecessary.  Why can’t a pre-planned vacation or event be attended if it is agreed upon by coach and student before the season starts?

Rules should be universal, and what would make one vacation more important than another?  This decision should be left to the coach.  Some coaches make exceptions to the rule to help the players while other coaches choose to follow the rule. Therefore, the kids who are not allowed to miss the vacation practices face the disadvantage that their coach is following the rule. Coaches should not have to risk being punished for wanting to help their player.  This rule should be changed for the benefit of all sports team members and coaches.