Oswego High School offers a large range of sports and extracurriculars to engage students of all interests. Supposedly, the creation of all these clubs is to bring together a variety of different students and create a family. Coaches tell you the goal is to have fun. However, they do not tell you about their overbearing thirst to win.
High school programs need to decide their competitive levels. It is 100% okay for any athletic or performing arts program to push its players and want to compete. But leading accepted students to believe they will get opportunities when you know they won’t is wrong.
A tryout, or audition, is a competition amongst peers to earn a spot on a team. Cutting should be a given if you are holding tryouts for a program. You shouldn’t make those participating in the tryout showcase their abilities only to accept all or most.
“There was not equal opportunity when I played, especially because there were so many girls on the roster,” said OHS junior and former softball player Kristen Gubricky, “when I asked why I wasn’t getting playing time they said I needed to get my batting and fielding averages up, which I need playing time to do.”
Perhaps some are accepted because they will get a chance to prove themselves in practice. After all, that is how starting rosters are finalized, right? We do not believe that to be true.
If a player has earned their spot through talent and effort, that is one thing. But talented people with sour attitudes and improper work ethics obtain opportunities over another that is working ten times harder. Almost all coaches say they’ll play the hardest workers, but natural skill will always overrule effort.
Students willing to work on bettering their abilities to earn their starting position should be admired; it is not easy. Other students may have years of experience under their belt compared to someone trying an activity for the first time. If a coach wants to take an inexperienced player under their wing to teach them better mechanics, that’s great! But you cannot overlook their hard work because you only care about winning. Newsflash, winning is not everything!
High school activities are stressful and time-consuming for everyone. Now, imagine dealing with all this stress and extra hard work, only to be denied participation. Everyone is expected to show up to all events and perform well in school, but what is it for? To be benched?
Not only do these negative side effects waste the time and money of students, but it also affects students’ overall mental health and self-esteem. Program leaders should think about these factors when deciding on a roster.