Multi-season athletes find balance between school, sports

Every winter, sophomore Celine Safa puts away her volleyball shoes in exchange for her soccer cleats. When the soccer season is over, Safa then trades her soccer cleats for running shoes in preparation for the upcoming track and field season.

Safa is just one of Gunn’s multi-season athletes. These athletes often have practice consistently before and after school during the entire school year, occupying a significant portion of their time.Despite the major time commitment, however, many of these athletes find the sports to be unique and fun communities. For Safa, her love for each sport is what motivates her to keep up with them throughout the year. “I love being on a team and being a part of sports at school,” she said.

Senior Sawyer McKenna, who plays water polo in the fall and soccer in the winter, also participates in multiple sports because of her love for playing. “I wanted to try out water polo because soccer was becoming too competitive, and I wanted to play something new,” she said. “I really enjoyed it and stayed with it for all four years.”

Many multi-season athletes play an additional sport to stay in shape for their primary sport throughout the school year. Junior Finnlee Montes, who plays football in the fall and baseball in the spring, is a student who uses this method. “I first started playing football to stay in shape for baseball, which is my main sport,” he said.

Similarly, freshman Ethan Hong plays basketball during his off season, while his main sport is baseball. He began playing basketball to have fun with his friends. “I started playing baseball when I was five,” he said. “That’s why I kept on doing it and following through. On the other hand, a lot of my friends played basketball, and that’s how I started and never stopped.”

Participating in multiple sports can be challenging in many ways, however, making time management both difficult and exhausting. Montes, for example, has practices in both the morning and evening. “On a normal day with no games, I wake up at 6:30 a.m. to go to morning football practice at 7:30 a.m.,” he said. “After school, I have baseball practice from 3:50 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.”

McKenna said that she had some days where she did not arrive at home until the late evening. “I had overlap in club soccer and water polo, and I wouldn’t get home until 9 p.m.,” she said.

Safa has also struggled to manage her time during busy seasons. “I get really busy, and it gets hard to manage everything sometimes,” she said.“It can be a lot physically and mentally.”

These student-athletes, however, have found ways to work around their busy schedules in order to keep their academic and athletic lives balanced.

Safa, for one, has learned to pace her work and allocate time for herself. “I try to spread out all of my work throughout the week and take some time to relax to help me focus on myself and to get through my schedule,” she said.

For McKenna, participating in multiple sports actually helped her to become more productive and efficient with time. “Sports force good time management,” she said.

Montes has learned to use his class time in order to minimize his workload after school. “I balance my school assignments and sports by trying to complete my homework assignments in class so I don’t have to do it later at night,” he said.

Participating in multiple sports does not always cause problems with time management, though, depending on the athlete’s sports and workload. Hong said that he has not had much difficulty with time management in the past semester. “It wasn’t too difficult to finish homework, and [playing multiple sports] didn’t make anything too difficult for me,” he said.

Safa also noted that she found participating in several sports to be less difficult than most people believe it to be. “People don’t understand how I’m able to fit everything into my schedule,” she said. “I manage to work it out with a good balance.”

Despite the challenges, multi-season athletes enjoy participating in their sports. “It’s an experience that I wanted to have for a long time,” Safa said.