To work or to play

Student chooses between work and athletics

Photo+Illustration

Photo by Peyton Sims

Photo Illustration

Story by Raelyn Albert, staff writer

The rush of stepping on the field is exhilarating. Each goal makes her feel like she is floating. Her team congratulates her. Nothing compares to the euphoria of a game, so when junior Chloe Pate had to choose between working and soccer, her mind was split. 

Pate, who takes all AP, DC and PreAP classes, hopes her hard academic work will earn her merit-based scholarships when applying to colleges. All advanced classes, however, are almost unmanageable when reconciling with the strict schedules of both soccer and a job. 

“To me, school is more important [than soccer] because I can always play soccer on the side or on the weekends,“ Pate said, “If I don’t get good grades, then I might not get scholarships. If I don’t get scholarships, I might not go to college.”

Although she would have the opportunity to potentially receive scholarships for playing soccer, Pate is primarily focused on getting academic scholarships.

“The chances of [getting a sports scholarship] are much slimmer than getting an academic scholarship,” Pate said. “So I’m sticking with my job and school.”

Pate spent the most influential years of her life playing soccer, so it plays an important part in her day-to-day life.

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was five,” Pate said. “My mom just signed me up one day. I hated playing at first, absolutely hated it, and then I just fell in love with it. I started playing at every moment possible and it had just been a huge part of my life ever since” 

Because of this, when she had to decide between soccer and working, the decision wasn’t as easy as she anticipated. She would have to give up the opportunity to make lifelong memories with her team. 

“[Not playing] isn’t as hard as I thought it would be, [but] it’s hard seeing my team play without me,” Pate said, “It’s hard not being on the bus with them and not being at the games, but at the same time, I know I’m doing what’s best for me.”

Pate hinted multiple times that she wasn’t planning on playing but she was still anxious about telling the coaches that she wasn’t going to play anymore.

“I told [the coaches] previously that I might not play so it wouldn’t be a big shock,” Pate said, “When I told them [the second time], they told me I’m always welcome to come back and that they wish they could have more of me on the field because of what I bring to the [team].”

Pate is able to play every position on the field, but if she were to play this season, she would have to be a goalkeeper, due to the injury of varsity goalkeeper Logan Pilgreen.

“I feel bad that Logan got hurt and that Rebecca Richnow [had to] move up. [Junior varsity] is just stuck [without a full time goalie],” Pate said, “Whoever coach assigned was in goal that day.”

If Pate decided to play, she would have to practice everyday with the team, which could get her into some trouble at her job. 

“If I wanted to play soccer, then, I would have to quit my job,” Pate said, “It’s going to come down to one or the other because my job has a strict schedule [and soccer does too].”

Pate has plans to go to the University of Central Arkansas after she graduates high school. One of many reasons is because her sister lives close by. 

“As of right now, I’m looking at  going to University of Central Arkansas in Conway and getting a bachelor’s in kinesiology or biology,” Pate said, “My sister lives about 20 minutes away from there, so it will be great to have a sense of freedom but also have family close by.”

Since she was little, Pate has wanted a future in the medical field. After being in sports medicine for two years, Pate decided that she wants to be a physical therapist. 

“I’ve always wanted to do something in the medical field. It went from a surgeon to anesthesiologist to now physical therapy,” Pate said, “I feel like seeing the athletic training part of [sports medicine] has led me more towards rehab.”