Quitting Fever

The Recent Trend of Student Athletes Quitting Sports

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Many students and coaches are questioning the rising amount of student-athletes quitting the sports they once loved. Jerzie Bryant (12) reflected on how this has affected both the teams themselves and the friendships involved. “I’m disappointed actually, because they could’ve done a lot for us this year,” Bryant said. “[And] we don’t talk to them as much off the court, so the friendship may have been a little bit lost.” – Image from Canva

“[I miss] the people and the friends,” Burrows said. “[I miss] their personalities and the experiences and connecting as a group.””

— Julianna Burrows

Within the last two months, there has been a trend of student athletes quitting different sports due in large part to concerns for their health and passions for other sports. Although school has only been back in session for a little over a month, the tendency of students to quit sports is already quite evident. 

Arlene Holt, assistant girls basketball and softball coach, reflects on why she thinks the amount of student athletes that are quitting has been on the rise. 

“I think teenagers today feel like they have to specialize in one sport,” Holt said. “If they have dreams or hopes of getting scholarships they feel like they need to specialize in that one sport and not branch out and play multiple highschool sports.” 

Like Holt said, many multi-sport athletes feel that they should focus on one sport, especially if they want to play it at the next level. This leads people such as former basketball player Alayna Lopez (11) to feel the need to quit other sports to focus on their main one. 

“I quit so I could focus on select soccer because I want to go to college for that,” Lopez said.

Lopez highlighted a problem that is often overlooked. Many students play sports outside of school for a select team, club, or organization. These sports help athletes get more exposure, which allows for them to get put on a college coach’s radar. Parents often have to pay thousands of dollars to put their child on a club team, while they don’t have to pay anything for the high school team. This often leads to parents and athletes prioritizing the club sport over high school sports.

“A lot of times if parents pay money for those sports and they don’t pay money for school sports,” Holt said, “they’re going to prioritize the one that they’re paying money for and I don’t know what the highschool coach can do to counteract that.”

While there are some that quit sports to focus on a main one, others choose to quit a certain sport to avoid injuries. Texas Tech soccer commit Julianna Burrows (11), has chosen not to play highschool soccer this season due to such reasons. 

“I quit because I didn’t want to get hurt…” Burrows said.  “I’m playing college soccer already so I don’t want to play high school soccer.”

Burrows is also a member of the girl’s varsity basketball team, where multiple players have quit across all levels. Losing a player can be a big blow to the team both on and off the court or field. Varsity basketball player Jerzie Bryant (12) shares her thoughts on this matter. 

“I’m disappointed actually, because they could’ve done a lot for us this year,” Bryant said. “[And] we don’t talk to them as much off the court, so the friendship may have been a little bit lost.“

Despite this, athletes and coaches are still determined to do the best with what they have. Gerald Slovacek, head girl’s soccer coach, explains his view on this.

“I try to focus [on] our current players and not on the what if’s,” Slovacek said. “The expectations won’t change.” 

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons high school athletes quit sports is because they are very demanding. Players are expected to dedicate extra time before and after school to their sport multiple times a week which takes time away from other activities they could be doing including schoolwork and spending time with family. Over time, the effects of these factors start to take a toll on the mental health of student athletes. Lopez speaks on the difference in her quality of life since she quit basketball.

“I’m not so sad all the time,” Lopez said. “During the season last year I was just so depressed and everything. I feel so much more energetic and my life is just so much better.”

Many athletes such as former swim team member Ashley Richardson (10) support their teammates’ decision to quit a sport if it didnt make them happy. 

“As long as it’s for a valid reason, like…you just weren’t enjoying it as much as you wanted to I could understand that,” Richardson said.

Although there are definitely positives to quitting, there are also some things that former athletes miss about being part of a team. 

“[I miss] the people and the friends,” Burrows said. “[I miss] their personalities and the experiences and connecting as a group.”

Ultimately, students quit sports for a multitude of reasons, and although many athletes have already made up their minds, others agree that there is definitely something bittersweet about the decision to quit.

“I think kids don’t realize how fast four years goes by,” Holt said. “ Enjoy the friendships, enjoy the memories, enjoy all the things now because four years really does go by super fast.”