Balancing school and sports are a delicate balance

Jaxon Owens, Website Editor

Student athlete is a term that is used a lot at the college level. What is generally overlooked is that the title still applies to kids who play on sports teams and are still in high school.

Senior football player Mauze Smith speaks to how much time he spends at practices and games and still has homework after.

“[Football season] usually runs about two to three months for games, September-November. We have five practices per week on average and each are about three hours per week. On game days, we do not go home or start homework until after the game that night,” Smith said.

Boys and girls soccer coach and AP Gov. and AP Psychology teacher Matt White talks to how much homework he gives out per week.

“My classes are organized so that they have about 30 minutes a night, maximum of 45 minutes, which that is for seven days a week, so they should have about three and half hours of homework per week,” White said.

Senior Social Studies teacher Tony Batinovich says kids now do not have as much homework as he had while he was in high school.

“I do not give out a real direct amount homework, because today’s students will not do it. There is always about two to three hours of homework a week that could be used for their notebook and review of material. Kids now do not have nearly as much homework as I did in high school, while I played wrestling, baseball and tennis,” Batinovich said.

White explains that is hard to compare grades of boys and girls.

“It is hard to compare the grades of my two teams because it is hard to compare boys to girls. In America and right here [in Puyallup] girls do significantly better academically than boys do,” White said. “Girls are doing better in school, going to college at higher rates, they are getting higher GPA’s and boys are just struggling. There are a lot of different reasons, one is I think that the activities in school are more girl centered. Sitting, raising your hand, are very typical, expected behaviors.”

White sees boys struggling because they are too active.

“Boys are a lot more active, there are not a lot of active classes and there are not really active jobs anymore. So we are in a society in which boys are struggling to find their place. I have been the boys soccer coach since 2001 and it has been about the same the entire time, the teens is the trend. It is continuing I do not see it ending anytime soon,” White said.

Batinovich says that he sees grades increase when a student is playing a sport.

“I do not really see a drop in grades of people who play sports. Most studies tell you that it is really quite the opposite. Athletes in season usually get better grades because they need to use their free time [more] wisely,” Batinovich said.

White sees the same thing in his classroom.

“The athletes that I see do better with grades during season because they are forced into being more organized. It is the kids that have an off season that can see their grades drop a bit after the season,” White said. “It is funny, that I always get emails from parents that once they their kids are done with football or swimming, they have more time to work on homework. Well the reason they could not spend more time on homework before was just an excuse, now they do not have that excuse but they use it anyway.”

Smith sees a similar occurrence from his personal view.

“It is very true that grades can increase during sports seasons because [students have] more of schedule. It helps me stay more on top of things, you cannot play a sport if you do not have good enough grades you will be ineligible. I also do not see a decrease in turning in of class work. I think people are always on top of their stuff. If they want to go onto college and be really successful, you have to find a way to balance school and sports,” Smith said.

White expects the soccer team to be competitive again this year.

“[The boys soccer team] has always been competitive at the state level, so we expect of ourselves that we will be there again,” White said.

White states that this topic should not just be about sports.

“I do not think that the focus should just be athletics. I think it should be school and extracurricular. Studies show that kids who are involved in extracurricular have higher GPA’s, higher success rates. That is not just sports, go join extra-choir, hosa or drama,” White said.

White thinks that the kids that have a purpose when they show up to school do better.

“The people who are engaged with extracurricular type of thing have a purpose, they have a purpose of why they are doing that thing. The kid that just shows up and counts time until he gets to leave, get less out of it,” White said. “The kid that comes to school with a purpose, even in the class or two they do not like, they have to keep going so they can do that thing after school, it is just a motivator. That is a big deal, we need to get kids more involved in something that like at the school.”

White says that clock watchers, do not do well in school because they have no motivation.

“The kids that I see with the worst grade are the kids who work or just nothing, those are the ones that are just a clock watcher for seven hours, that end of the day bell rings, sweet,” White said. “That is what they do every day for three years because they have nothing to do here, even if they have one class that they really look forward to, they still do not get much out of the other five classes.”