To play or not to play

Story by Eleanor Schroeder, editor in chief

From the moment we are old enough to understand what college is, we are expected to get our degrees. It is hammered into our brains that everyone goes to college, for good reason: in the country we live in, it is difficult to get a high-paying job without a college education. Involvement in athletics can be a decisive factor in the decisions we make for our lives after high school graduation.

I am an average soccer player, by no means great or even professional level. But due to my grades, awards and if I planned ahead, I could potentially play at a smaller junior college next year. This decision would completely change my life over the last few years. Actually, due to the pressure and rigor of competing in athletics, the college-athlete must choose that track early on.

Personally, I choose to not pursue athletics after high school. I have not decided where I am going to college, but if I would be choosing based on athletic scholarship, it would be a school where the level of my education might be compromised. Also, although I love soccer, I am not prepared to devote all of my energy and my college experience to it. I want to focus all of my time on my majors and preparing for the future career I choose.

Also, although I love soccer, I am not prepared to devote all of my energy and my college experience to it.”

— Eleanor Schroeder

According to academic advisors, during last school year, 1,548 students at Texas High play a sport. Across the nation nearly eight million high school students participate in athletics. However, the average number of high schoolers who move on to compete in the NCAA is around 6 percent for men and 8 percent for women. The odds are extremely low that college athletes will be about to support their families financially.

At the beginning of this year, I conducted an independent research project about the importance of sports, specifically for girls. The research I did clearly shows that participation in team sports benefits the individual athlete’s physical and mental health, educational and intellectual development, social inclusion and future career success. Yet, it is a difficult decision to choose to play in college or not.

Regardless of what choice you make, college is an unbelievable time of your life to learn what your place is in this world and how you want to make a difference.