Stress On and Off The Field

Caroline Bryant, Staff

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Though the soccer season has come to an end, the girls on Catonsville’s varsity soccer team are thankful for the opportunities the sport has brought them.

“Being on a team helped me stop being nervous about having friends and not knowing how to talk to people,” junior and new-comer to the team Katy Lamb said. “It forces you to spend every day with each other. It’s like a having your own, little family.”

Junior Hazel Montgomery-Walsh agreed. After being on varsity for her whole high school career, Montgomery-Walsh believes that having some type of extra-curricular helps motivate productivity in school.

“I definitely think having something to look forward to after school encourages me to do well on my schoolwork; it’s nice to know that you’ll have a little break in between school and homework,” she explained.

Despite their appreciation, students feel more stressed than before because practices are now extra intense; they feel as if it’s a division one college sport. According to Atlantic magazine, many student-athletes report with higher negativity, anxiety, and depression compared to non-student athletes. For instance, Montgomery-Walsh and Lamb shared that they’ll never give up the sport for anything in the world, but sometimes the pressure between coaches and teammates can be overwhelming.

“I didn’t feel like I could be myself because I’m already uptight about my own mistakes,” Montgomery-Walsh said.

Lamb in particular found transitioning into a new atmosphere with higher expectations is challenging for someone who struggles with self-confidence.

“When I made varsity, I was all excited until I started to get in my head and psych myself out,” Lamb remembered. “I wasn’t able to connect with people because of this because I didn’t feel confident being around the coaches and teammates because they were all so good.

In contrast, the team’s goalie, junior Caitlin Czlonka, injury seemed to be the main issue.

“There were times where I didn’t get to put into the game because of my foot injury,” she said. “Not being able to play the sport I love was very stressful.”

Moreover, there was one thing the three could agree on: the difficulties balancing sports and homework.

“It’s harder now that we’re in high school because not only your practice time goes, work goes up, too,” Czlonka mentioned.

“Even my parents can recognize my stress because I show it,” Montgomery-Walsh added. “Teachers always try to estimate how much time their homework takes, but it usually takes more.”

Though managing school and home responsibilities is tough, adding sports into the mix is extra tricky. In response, the girls- along with majority of the student body- wished administrators would recognize the damaging effects stress has shown on their students and help fix the problem.

“I think adding a study hall would be a nice time to catch up on everything,” Lamb said. “We used to have this period called Cougar Time in middle school every month where we had time to work on homework. That way, you don’t have to go home and freak out over school and get some sleep instead.”

Montgomery-Walsh thought a homework limit would be nice. Private schools in Maryland, such as St. Paul’s School for Girls, have a one hour of homework per class; if worktime for a specific class period exceeds one hour, they can stop – even if they aren’t finished- without punishment.

“Even just the thought of homework limits is relaxing,” she laughed.

However, Czlonka believed the heart of the problem may have started with practice time. Here at Catonsville, teams practice between 2:30-4:30 pm or 4-6 pm. Athletes that wait till 4 pm do have an hour study hall beforehand, but one hour for a monstrous pile of homework doesn’t make much of a difference.

“Coaches could give one day a week where practice is shortened so we can catch up on homework,” she said. “I think they would understand our concerns because they’re also putting in the same amount of time.”