30 seconds left in the second half, cougars are down by three. All that matters to the boys on the court is the game.
Until school the next day. When the teacher collects the multiple homework assignments and passes out final exam study guides.
The month of December is a whirlwind month for everyone. The malls are filled with fake Santas and people are frantically shopping for Christmas. Coffee houses are crowded with students vigorously studying and cramming for final exams.
And the North basketball gym is full of boys cramming not for exams, but for their upcoming game this Friday.
The last two weeks before finals is the busiest time of the semester as far as classes are concerned.
It’s also a busy time for the North basketball team. As the term comes to an end, the basketball season is just heating up.
Between the pressure of the season, and the pressure of finals, how do the players handle all the stress and expectations?
Studies have repeatedly shown that school is the number one cause of consistent stress in teenagers. While music solos result in the most pre-performance stress in teens, athletics are in second place.
Basketball players feel extra pressure to perform well in both academics and athletics, because if they do poorly on the finals and it affects their grades, they may not meet the requirements to play basketball.
Fortunately, many of these student athletes have figured out how to handle the pressure and do well in school and on the court.
North basketball player and senior Sean Rudder is a four year veteran dealing with the stress of school and basketball together.
“It’s mostly just prioritizing time, figuring out the balance between practice time and study time,” he said.
Sophomore basketball player and honor student Cameron Richardson also understands the importance of balance and knowing how to prioritize. When asked about whether basketball adds more stress to his upcoming finals, Richardson said he has learned how to keep the two separate.
“There’s not that much extra stress if you figure out how to keep those two things separate,” he said.
It seems that balance is key and it’s important to focus on the task at hand, whether that be a study session, a game, a practice, or a final. Simple things like studying for five minutes whenever possible, or shooting extra free throws after practice, can all increase preparedness and decrease stress.
These hardworking student athletes are unarguably under a great deal of stress and pressure, dealing with expectations in class and on the court, but they work hard to find balance. Students first, athletes second, giving their all in the classroom and on the court.