Beyond the Stats: Why do athletes play their sport?

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Beyond the Stats: Why do athletes play their sport?

(Photo Courtesy of Bill Styskal Sports Photography, Emily Holleuffer, and Angelina Velardi)
From left to right: senior field hockey captain Emily Holleuffer, senior football captain Nick Ciaglia, sophomore Angelina Velardi

(Photo Courtesy of Bill Styskal Sports Photography, Emily Holleuffer, and Angelina Velardi) From left to right: senior field hockey captain Emily Holleuffer, senior football captain Nick Ciaglia, sophomore Angelina Velardi

(Photo Courtesy of Bill Styskal Sports Photography, Emily Holleuffer, and Angelina Velardi) From left to right: senior field hockey captain Emily Holleuffer, senior football captain Nick Ciaglia, sophomore Angelina Velardi

(Photo Courtesy of Bill Styskal Sports Photography, Emily Holleuffer, and Angelina Velardi) From left to right: senior field hockey captain Emily Holleuffer, senior football captain Nick Ciaglia, sophomore Angelina Velardi

By Ciara Morrissey, Sports Editor

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The whistle blows. “Again” says your coach.  The music stops. “One more time.” says your dance teacher. Your eyes roll, you moan and groan, but nonetheless, you line up one more time. You get back on the floor. You do the extra rep,the extra sprint, but why? Why do you go the extra mile? Why do you play?

“I play now because I’ve made a lot more friends playing football, and we’ve stuck with each other since we all started,” senior football captain Nick Ciaglia said. “And if I didn’t play, I think that friendship would have faded rather than becoming stronger.”

Across every sport, hobby or extracurricular activity, an emphasis is placed on stats, records and overall performance. There is a tendency to look at the final product, rather than its prototype. At times, the prototype holds a deeper meaning to an athlete. For senior field hockey captain Emily Holleuffer, the sport has given her more than just a state championship jacket. 

“Being able to play with a whole team of my best friends,” Holleuffer said. “You honestly see them more than your own family and you get so close to them.” 

Few people understand why athletes commit every minute of their free time to their craft. To outsiders, dreams of winning a state championship, a national championship or even getting a scholarship seems lucrative. So why do they do it? 

“Why do I dance?” Sophomore Angelina Velardi said. “Because it’s just what I like. It’s literally what I do. I look at myself, like I’m a dancer. I classify myself as a dancer now, in the beginning I wanted to be a dancer. But now, I feel like I’m a dancer. And I’m going to do this in the long run. So that’s why I’m doing it.”