Editorial: Why High School Sports Are More Than Worth the Injuries

Judy Scott, Sports Editor

   The gratifying feeling after every win, the unbreakable bonds made with teammates, the confidence you build in yourself and your team, and the lifelong lessons learned make sports worth the commitment and potential injuries.

   Throughout my life I have played all kinds of sports, from dance and gymnastics, to basketball, softball,  soccer, and swim team in elementary and middle school, and now tennis and lacrosse. In my years of playing, I have learned so much about who I am, made more friends than I can count, and had coaches that have made me the person I am today. 

   Sports taught me to be confident in myself and my abilities, and not to back down from a challenge. As an offensive player on the lacrosse field, I get pushed around and bruised up. But that only fuels me to push harder, get around my defender, and make the shot. Sophomore Gianna Stewart, a UC High triathlete playing field hockey, soccer, and lacrosse, said, “Sports have taught me not to quit, and they have become part of my personality. Sports and my injury experiences have also taught me that when you enjoy doing something you shouldn’t quit just because you face an obstacle.”

   Stewart reflected on her experience with sports injuries: “I’ve gotten injured a lot in sports like pulling muscles and spraining my ankles almost every season.” This past fall season, she broke her hand playing field hockey. “When I broke my hand I was out for a month. Throughout that time, all I wanted to do was get back to playing field hockey. I wanted to play with my team again and I missed being able to practice and play in games to get better,” said Stewart.

   Stewart said, “When my hand healed I went right back into the season and I helped my team win CIFs. I think it was worth my injury, because I got to be a part of a big win for UC field hockey, and getting to experience that win with my teammates knowing I helped made it worth it.” In the end, the injury was worth it for Gianna because she got to be a part of something monumental for her team and was there beside her teammates after that hard fought CIF win they had worked toward all season.

   Team sports form strong friendships and bonds. Teammates practice together everyday, and have to trust one another on the field or on the court. I’ve learned so much from my teammates and have looked up to those who are older than me or better than me. They have taught me to be a better player, where to improve, and are also some of my closest friends. 

   My coaches over the years have also taught me to be more self-assured and have been my mentors throughout my life. Their confidence in me and my abilities made me more confident in myself, and my success is credited to their great teaching. Just like teachers, coaches teach you new skills that you carry throughout your life.

   I personally have not had many sports injuries over the years, but in my past two seasons of lacrosse, I have gotten shin splints. Even though I was in pain half the time when I ran, I never wanted to stop playing. I didn’t want to disappoint my coaches or my teammates. I just loved the game too much. Junior Nathan Lien, a track and cross country runner said, “My first big injury was when I got a stress fracture when I tried running and keeping up with our high school’s Cross Country Team back in the summer of seventh grade.”

   “It really sucked getting hurt and not being able to run for a month, but I gained a ton of experience in return. I really learned what it was like to push past my limits every day and how to persevere through challenges I had never experienced before when I would stay in my comfort zone.” Lien added, “And that’s what it takes to become a great athlete, doing what it takes to make you different from the average athlete.”

   “Participating in track and cross country has also taught me the importance of not only being strong physically but also mentally, as a lot of times it takes a great deal of confidence in yourself to compete and push through,” said Lien.

   Sports allow you to learn so much about yourself, how to deal with others, and form connections with individuals who you might not have otherwise. I am grateful everyday for what sports have taught me and I know other athletes feel the same. I see it in them both on and off the field, track, pool deck, or court.