This past month, a student of HHS brought up a motion to limit the amount of practices and games for student athletes over break. When I asked Dimitri Somoff, a council representative, he said that, “Council discussed the athletics over break motion in which the school would adopt a policy to limit athletic practices and games (optional and non-optional) during school vacations. The motion calls for two consecutive days of no scheduled practices or games during Thanksgiving and February break, and three consecutive days during Holiday and April break”. The discussion of this motion started out with a report on the results of a survey of the students on this issue. According to this survey, council reported that “70.7% of the general student population were in favor of this motion, around 67% of student-athletes supported it, and only 56.5% of varsity athletes supported. That 56.5% was the lowest support of the three groups polled but it was still over a simple majority (greater than 50% of the total responses)”. During the council meeting this week, students, council members, teachers, and athletes all expressed their thoughts and opinions on the motion.
In the discussion that followed, some people argued that it should be up to the individual teams to decide citing the example of the girls’ Lacrosse team where they have voted as a team in past years about practices and away games during breaks. There were also concerns over how the motion could complicate scheduling and whether it was addressing a real problem since practices over breaks are already optional. Others pointed out that many families don’t go away for vacations because the parents have to work and so students want to go to practice both to have something to do and to improve themselves in the sport of their choice. Such a motion, they argued, limits the ability of students who are not traveling to continue practicing their skills as a team sport. People also cited the fact that the coaches are against this motion as a reason to vote it down. People argued that people play sports because they love them and enjoy playing them so it isn’t a chore to go to practice.
On the other side, people argued that teachers are forced to limit homework so that students are able to spend time with their family, and that athletes shouldn’t get in the way of that. Someone commented that a student who wants to play a Varsity sport potentially holds back their entire family from scheduling things other than sports over the break. People pointed out that two or three days really aren’t that many in the scope of the break because Sundays are already off and that counts as one of the days. In addition, it was noted that this motion doesn’t prevent students from individually practicing sports.
The motion is far from being settled. Overall there were some good ideas and valid points raised on both sides and the discussion will continue next week Wednesday in the chorus room and is open to all.