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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

The necessity of community

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The Gonzaga Swim and Dive team poses for an underwater shot after their meet! (Gonzaga Swim and Dive Flickr)

Since the start of the pandemic many high school athletes have been itching to get back to their sports, and with vaccines becoming available and the spread of COVID-19 slowing down, students should be participating in high school sports.

Students have faced a lack of community, involvement and many have actually fallen into depression or been affected mentally by the pandemic. Add a loss of the sport that student athletes love, and many students are left with nothing to do.

Student athletes may get on Zoom calls, sit in their room all day and then go to bed. Athletes don’t know what to do with all the new time they have on their hands; usually, they have the opportunity to play sports with their teams to take up that unscheduled time. 

Sports don’t only offer activity and competition to student athletes, but they also provide a community and safe place for students to go and get away from their hectic school days. Personally, when I get in the pool for practice after a long day of virtual learning, I love how I don’t have to worry about anything besides swimming. The pool is like a different reality for me, and many student athletes can relate to this athletic therapy. 

When student athletes get on the field, court or course, they feel relaxed and have a chance to detox from their hectic lives. In a year where many students are locked inside their houses and may not be able to go to club sports, high school sports are a necessity. 

After months of a hiatus, Gonzaga has slowly started up sports again, and since the beginning of the school year, I always hoped for a swim season. I didn’t want to just swim; I wanted to be back with the team that I consider a second family. I’m sure many other athletes can relate to this close feeling of community on their teams. I knew that we weren’t going to have a “real” season, but just having three swim meets this season was enough to feel that community coming back together after a long year.

From left to right: Quin Loesch, Jonathan Hofmann, and Ryan Bond pose for a photo before their races. (Gonzaga Swim and Dive Flickr)

Even though Gonzaga has had some sport start, many public schools do not have high school sports, which I see as a major problem. Some students rely on their sports to get scholarships for college, and without sport seasons, some student athletes are at a disadvantage from getting scholarships and going to college. 

The mental health of students is very concerning. Students have been struggling mentally from not having anything to do during the pandemic. By not allowing for students to participate in their sport seasons, some schools contribute to the mental health problem that so many high schoolers face. It is essential that schools, especially those that are solely virtual, allow for sport seasons as they lack a sense of community and their high school sports career.

With so much lost this year, I was so excited when I had the chance to compete. Having the chance to swim with my high school this year made my year ten times better. If my senior year was made by just three high school swim meets, imagine what bringing sports back to student athletes in public school will do for them.

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