The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

OPINION: Sports schedules get in the way of students’ deserved break

Photo courtesy of Guilhem Vellut (CC BY 2.0)
Athletes miss out on memorable experiences such as prom due to overly demanding sports schedules.

A majority of West Essex students are involved in sports and extracurriculars throughout the fall, winter and spring seasons. The spring, specifically, can be the most contentious time for sports because of spring break and prom weekend. Some players find themselves missing out on vacations and quality time with friends and family to attend practices and games. Since coaches are aware of these conflicts before the season starts, they should make every effort to allow students time off during these breaks and special weekends to enjoy themselves and recharge. This time off has been allotted for a reason, and students should be able to enjoy the few stress-free days.  

“They’re expected to be at every practice and every game because sports are a big commitment and they know that ahead of time,” varsity baseball coach Joseph Cardinale said. “When they choose to play, they are signing up for that commitment.”

While commitment to sports is important, it is also important to recognize the countless other responsibilities and activities students have. They are given various breaks, such as spring break, as a time to escape all of this. However, mandatory sports schedules interfere with that. There are endless practices and games almost every day that defeat the entire point of a break. Even if coaches and teams need to get some games in, they should remain conscious of the fact that this time has been set aside for a reason.  

Students acknowledge the commitment they made to their sport, but coaches can still make it easier for their athletes. Any practice or game is an obstruction to visiting family and friends in other states or going on a family vacation, but putting it at a certain time or even concentrating it down to a few days of the whole break can be beneficial.

“I would like early practices because I could have the rest of the day to do what I want to do,” freshman baseball player Jaden Penaloza said.

Spring break is also around the time of many religious holidays, when many families enjoy visiting with relatives or going on vacation, requiring athletes to make the decision between the consequences of missing practice and games or missing valuable family events.

“On the days that we have our scheduled games, the games are usually later in the day so they have more or less all morning to do whatever they like,” Cardinale said. “So I like to think that even though we do have something pretty much every day, there is still an adequate amount of time during spring break where they can obviously have their time to see friends and family and do what they want.”

Students are aware of the commitment sports require when they sign up before the season. However, there are rigorous hours of private training, club teams, travel teams and an abundance of money put into training. When these student-athletes are forced to choose between their own social life and missing a practice or game, many will make the choice that benefits themselves. However, teams have various policies. Whether that be benching the athlete for a certain number of games or even for the whole season, coaches have to remain concious of what they choose to do. 

“Basically they would have to sit the requisite number of games they miss,” Cardinale said. “So if they miss one game, they would have to sit out a game.”

This policy throws away hours of training and time spent on the sport in the off-season. 

Being a student-athlete is not an easy thing to manage, and coaches should understand the need to prioritize oneself over the sport. During times such as spring break and prom weekend, there needs to be a balance of what obligations players have and their ability to just be a kid. 

PHOTO: “Ballroom @ Royal Palace @ Turin” by Guilhem Vellut is liscenced under CC BY 2.0 

Behind the Byline
Ava Vigilante
Ava Vigilante, Chief Opinion Editor
Ava Vigilante is a 2024-2025 Senior Chief Opinion Editor for the Wessex Wire. She enjoys playing soccer, spending time with friends and family, and going to the beach.
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