Sports are essential but should be mediated with other extracurriculars


Samantha Freeman

Sports are common extracurriculars at Coppell High School. The Sidekick staff writer Akif Abidi believes that, though sports are valuable activities for students, its importance can sometimes be overrated.

Akif Abidi, Staff Writer

Being a true student-athlete is a title that can be hard to keep up. From waking up at the crack of dawn to practice spending late nights finishing up on school work, a student-athlete’s schedule can be hectic.

Coppell High School is a school that prides itself on its athletic department and achievements. With a large variety of sports to choose from, many students take up sports as their extracurriculars, which often ends up taking up a good part of their day inside and outside of school. 

Because of this, students can end up being over-invested in sports, leaving little space for academics and other extracurriculars they might have participated in. 

The passion for sports at CHS runs strong. Many senior student athletes have been in the same sport since freshman year and have spent countless hours on the track, field or court. Though CHS produces a good number of college-level athletes every year, a relatively small percentage of student-athletes ever end up playing in college. An even smaller amount of people end up playing professionally. In the end, many high school athletes never really benefit from the hours of training later in their lives.

I am not saying pursuing sports in high school is a waste of time. Sports are something that can instill many great qualities in a person, from teamwork and leadership to grit and determination. It can greatly develop a person socially and create bonds as well.

But the truth is, the chances one will end up using those sports skills later in life can be slim. 

Sports can be great for character building, but spending all your free time on sports practice and not exploring the plethora of other activities at CHS can be detrimental.

I have played select soccer for most of my life and still have a passion for the sport. I understand the passion that goes behind sports for athletes. However, when you over-commit to only a single sport while not planning to play beyond high school, you find yourself boxed in from your potential in other activities that might have interested you. 

Essentially, you are prevented from exploring yourself more, which is an important theme of high school. A student who spends all his/her time practicing football does not get time to grow in other non-athletic fields, such as writing, coding, engineering, debating or academics in general. There are many endorsement classes that you can explore in school, such as engineering or business.

Coppell senior midfielder Ben Wang has been playing high school soccer since freshman year. Wang pursues hobbies and passions outside of sports, being one of the top-ranked students in his class and taking part in several clubs.

“Even if you’re going to be a professional athlete, which is obviously really hard to do, there is always life after sports,” Wang said. “You want to kind of develop some skills and pursue some passions outside of the sport. But if that’s really what you love to do, then I don’t think there should be anything holding you back. I don’t think there should be a voice in your head that makes you pursue an extracurricular just for the heck of it.”

I have made an effort to dip my toes in different extracurriculars in the past four years, from Model United Nations to making a coding club to joining The Sidekick. And though not all extracurriculars stuck with me, I can confidently say I am a much more well-rounded person now.

Ultimately, it has greatly affected my decision to pursue computer science and artificial intelligence in college. If you asked me what I wanted to do four years ago, computer science would be one of the last things I would say.

High school does not have to be the place you find your dream job but trying different things can help narrow it down. I know people who were solely dedicated to their sports throughout high school without exploring any other fields and ended up selecting the easiest sounding or the most common major – keeping their fingers crossed and hoping they will like it. If they would have spread their wings a bit, they might have found a major they actually have a drive for.

“You never know what you’re going to be good at. You never know what you’re gonna like in the future,” Coppell track and cross country assistant coach Donald Kemp said. “You always have to have a backup plan. If you think you’re an athlete, that’s great, but you’re always going to get there’s always chance for injuries. So you never know.”

Follow Akif (@akifabidi) and @SidekickSports on Twitter.