Athletes experience burnout in their senior year

Gabriella Backus, Online Editor-in-Chief

By GABRIELLA BACKUS
ONLINE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Joining a sport can be exhilarating the first few years. Senior year, however, seems to hold the test of time for athletes as many choose to quit before their senior year, while others dedicate themselves to one sport and graduate with a four-year award under their belt.

Talented players often play on a team outside school and have dedicated their lives to a single sport. They feel committed and many plan to continue after high school. Sport scholarships, which some students aim for, are typically four-year commitments; colleges want to see that students are driven.

“[Athletes probably stay dedicated] because they grew up playing the sport,” senior baseball player Brandon Preap said. “Some students play a sport for four years and then try out a new sport in the off season.

Because teams become so close, the friendships formed within a sport often encourage athletes to stick to that one sport.

“Each year of track is a new and different experience for me, and I really like forming those bonds with teammates that I otherwise wouldn’t have,” track athlete Helen Le, a senior, said.

Despite Bear Creek’s sports boasting driven athletes, a common trend is prone to occur: after junior year, athletes quit their dominant sport. Three years appears to be the limit for those many athletes who experience “senioritis” even when it comes to sports.

Some athletes quit out of sheer boredom. The sport has become uninteresting to them, either because of its repetitive routine or because their friends have also left.

“All my friends left, so I figured there was nothing else left for me,” former cross-country runner Adrian Garcia said. “Last year, there were 20 people in my class, but now there’s only like three. It has a lot to do with losing interest in the sport.”

Others quit because of a buildup of work in their senior year.

“We’re growing up and we are doing more things with our life than just running,” Adrian Garcia said.

“I feel like senior year is the year where everyone starts to either load everything on their plate or chill, and in both cases, sports aren’t really at the forefront of their minds,” Le said.

In more competitive sports, students may not try out their final year if they feel their performance is lacking or if they expect to be cut.

“It is very common in our sport if players make varsity as a freshman,” girls soccer coach Jeff Pappas said. “We do have many players not come out after sophomore year. Often they feel like if they didn’t play varsity freshman or sophomore year they won’t make the team.”

This three-year stagnancy can lead to dips in attendance, player mentality, and overall team improvement. Unique bonds formed between upper and underclassmen on the field are shattered, and the team dynamic is thrown off.

“It’s unfortunate that athletes would take themselves out of the game instead of work[ing] harder,” Pappas said.