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Sports Column: Dwindling Numbers in Multi-Sport Athletes

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A decent fraction of life in high school for many students is taken up by sports.

As a senior in high school who used to be a three-sport athlete, I predict that finishing high school as a three-sport athlete in a large division one school is simply unattainable.

According to Gladwell.com, it takes 10,000 hours to fully master a skill. Granted in high school you are not looking to master three sports, but performing well and beating competitors is always the goal. Seeing that there is only 8,760 hours in a year, it is hard to become great at three sports while maintaining your grades, work, clubs and family.

A recent article on bigstory.ap.org suggests priorities have changed. Students and coaches are no longer content with playing one season. “Specialization is not about getting a college scholarship anymore. It’s about just getting playing time at their high school with their peers now. That’s the way we’ve made it, and it’s a real shame.”

Math Teacher Mrs. Tara Meinke said, “Back when I was in high school, everyone participated in three sports because you simply could. Sports didn’t go year round and coming from a smaller school, you depended on athletes to participate in multiple sports just to have the numbers to compete.” She continued, “With a student population of 2,100 at NHS, to be good enough to secure a spot on varsity is tough even if you’re just in a single sport. Coaches say that participating in multiple sports isn’t an issue but know that if you aren’t making year round open gyms and lifting then know your spot might be tampered with.”

Continuing with with a student perspective on coaches cooperation with multiple sport participation at NHS, Katie Sukanen, senior, who plays varsity soccer and basketball said, “Coaches say that they are okay with you being in multiple sports but then get furious when you miss an out of season open gym.”

Every school and athlete is different but as times change, my fears are that the future is flawed for multi-sport athletes. The three-sport athletes are now starting to dwindle to two. I am worried that in a few short years those two-sport athletes will soon become one. The views on high school athletes will become distorted from the moment the bright-eyed and big dreaming freshmen walk through the doors. They will spend four short, but seemingly long years as one sport, year-round specialized athletes.

 

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Sports Column: Dwindling Numbers in Multi-Sport Athletes