Here’s a quick introduction to me: I’m a junior, the Sports Editor of The Talon and I play water polo. That’s practically all you need to know because that’s all I really do.
At 6:15 a.m. when the moon is still up and the sky is still dark, I line up at the edge of the pool, ready to dive in. The coach counts down from 10, expecting us to immediately jump in, ready or not. Sometimes, after the first dive, the pool is covered with steam and my toes tingle from the heat. Other times, I’m jolted by the freezing water, and I sprint the first eight laps of warm-ups, but eight laps all-out are not enough to thaw my glacial corpse.
On top of morning practices, the locker rooms are currently under construction. That means no bathrooms on deck and no showers in the morning. But there’s something about waking up much earlier than usual, the unpredictable temperature of the water in the morning and a small tent of 30 girls attempting to change from wet bathing suits into dry clothes that bring a team together and makes all of this worth it. And by “this,” I mean high school sports.
We still continue to play water polo, basketball or football despite all of these hardships and more. We dedicate so much of our time to train for the next game because there is nothing more rewarding than improving. We sacrifice our sleep and beat up our bodies and occasionally put aside homework because to score a goal or block a shot or dive that perfect dive is, for a lack of better words, amazing.
Whether it’s our competitive drive or the rewarding feeling of being part of a team that draws us to make such a huge commitment, all athletes can agree that even though the majority of us will not pursue professional careers in the NFL or NBA, four years of high school without sports is unimaginable. So while our coaches push us so hard, don’t just go through the motions, enjoy the moment.
Sports are meant to be enjoyed. They are well-deserved privileges that don’t give us enough time in the day to dwell upon the losses or complain about our obligations. Instead, look past the struggles of waking up early and having locker rooms that are under construction, because in the end, every bus ride and every trip to the athletic trainer is worth it.
Really, morning practices aren’t half as bad as they seem.