Student-Athletes or Athlete-Students: How do JHS athletes handle the pressure?


Every day from the hot and humid summers of August to the cold and drizzling winters of December, Jesuit High School varsity fall athletes wake up early in the morning, go to class, attend sports practices, finish homework and sleep.

The athletes of the 2018 class are participating in their last year of athletics and are on their last chance to make an impression on potential athletic programs. However, the pressure of balancing rigorous academics, a bustling social life and a daily sports schedule affects all students.

“You can never really have a balance between athletics, academics and your social life,” says JHS senior football player Travis Spreen, “For me, I definitely have sacrificed my social life, hanging out with my friends and going to parties. Every day, it is pretty routine, I practice football, I go home, I eat dinner and do my homework, and once I do that, I shower and go to bed.”

With more than 10 offers from predominately Ivy League Schools, Travis has managed to endure the pressure of playing football while balancing academics and his social life. However, collegiate options are still on the line this season as Travis hopes to receive scholarships from Power 5 schools.

Travis Spreen is one of the many JHS athletes in contention for collegiate scholarships. Out of a senior class of more than 300 students, only 4-5% will pursue collegiate sports and of that, not all will receive scholarships.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, seniors are not the only ones having to balance the pressure of collegiate sports and school. The sheer competitiveness of colleges receiving the best athletes along with each individual athlete choosing the best potential school creates an environment of freshman, sophomores and juniors having to balance sports, academics and social life with major colleges attempting to compete for their services.

As a sophomore, Alyssa Hughes has visited numerous colleges who hope to potentially add Alyssa to their roster two years from now.

“It’s very stressful, it’s really stressful not as much in high-school but in club because there are coaches always at tournaments watching you and there is a huge stress to get good grades and get into a good college,” Alyssa said.

“It doesn’t bother me if seniors are feeling that pressure, where it bothers me is when freshman and sophomores are facing that pressure, that is the nature of college athletes,” Athletic Director Mike Hughes said.

With new technology recording and athletes every game, the pressure accompanied with providing colleges with excellent game tape as a senior trickles down to underclassmen which adds more pressure towards these athletes shoulders.

However, Jesuit High School possesses numerous resources to help athletes balance the academic rigor with sports including the counseling department, coaches and teachers all eagerly waiting to lend a hand.

Mr. Hughes added that many collegiate freshman who return to Jesuit to visit often tell faculty that the balance between athletics and academics in their first year of college was very similar to their junior and senior year at Jesuit.

Despite the pressure of succeeding both in and outside the classroom, Jesuit High School student-athletes are well equipped to succeed in collegiate sports as the loving and compassionate community roots for them to succeed on the field and court in a national stage.