It’s 6:30 in the morning, the alarm wakes a student athlete from a 6 hour sleep. Pieces of the script for the presentation they are about to give are strewn around the room and the study guide for the Science test they have in hanging off the edge of their bed. Regardless, they wake up, gather their things and make their way to school. They take the science test first, and then it’s on to the English presentation.
At the end of the day, they have a two hour trip to Cobham before they play their game. They then come back home, have dinner and sit down to complete two hours of homework.
Somehow they do it. With the winter sports season kicking off and, with the school year in full swing, students are working hard to balance academics with school.
Jasper Towleh plays on the eighth-grade basketball team as well as West-side, a club team outside of school.. “I play basketball 12 – 14 hours a week. I usually do my homework before basketball when I can, or as soon as I get home,” Towleh said, “But when I’m playing sports, I don’t think about school, so it helps me relax.”
Towleh has been playing for six years and finds basketball an escape from a tough academic schedule.
Samih Sawiris, an eighth-grader who plays on the rugby team, explained how tough it is to focus on sports when the academic program at school is so demanding. “each class, regardless of what teachers say, has more that 30 minutes of homework. On top of that, we’ve got assessment after assessment that we have to study for.”
Sawiris goes to the school’s home ground of Canons Park which is a 45 minute drive away from campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays and always gets home in the dark “tired and hungry” with homework and studying to greet him. Despite the hard work, Sawiris understands how important school work is. “It’s hard to get all the work done but I understand that the work we do is important.”
Darren Morris, an eighth grader also on the rugby team, had a similar experience. “Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are pretty much my homework days,” Morris said, “because I’m basically out all evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I sometimes have to do my homework on the bus.”
Any middle school student who takes part in a school sport trains on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in some cases, they don’t get back home until 7 at night. Students receive homework everyday from at least two classes and, as the first semester draws to a close, more and more tests.
Rugby and basketball are not the only winter sports however, and both swimming and dance play a significant role in the winter sports season. Mia George, an eighth-grader on the swim team, talked about her homework routines and the swim team schedule.
“The swim team meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:15 to about 5:00 ish. However, when there are swim meets, it lasts a bit longer, sometimes up to 6:00.”
George finds balancing homework with athletics challenging but doable. “I find that balancing school work with after-school sports is actually quite hard. Some solutions are doing homework the day assigned especially on Monday so that on Tuesday if I come late from school, I don’t need to stress about getting my homework done for Wednesday.”
The winter sports are two days per week and, as a result, students are able to build up good habits regarding both their homework and their athletics for high school.