The debate over an early fall season

The JV girls' field hockey floods the field after a seasonal game. This team is one of many that experiences the collide between sports and summer.

Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Matyas

The JV girls’ field hockey floods the field after a seasonal game. This team is one of many that experiences the collide between sports and summer.

Summer is seen as a three month break from all stresses and expectations of school. During it, students are free of the burden of academics and sports for the time being. But what happens when sports intrude on the freedom of summer?

Two years ago, Governor Larry Hogan established a new precedent, making it so that the first day of school in Maryland public schools were delayed until after Labor Day weekend. He did this with the intent of encouraging travel to Ocean City during the extra week, therefore gaining tax revenue for the state. In response to this change, schools changed practically nothing. The beginning of fall sports remained at the same time, now nearly one month before the first day of school. 

For those in opposition to the early commencement of fall sports, the point of focus is its contrast to vacation. To them, summer is seen as a two and a half month relief from all the stress school imposes. However, if sports begin early August, a month and a half into summer vacation, students lose some of their expected freedom.

“There’s not enough time for summer vacation for fall athletes,” freshman John Rakis said.

Given that students must be home to attend sports practices, they cannot be anywhere else. Travelling means potentially missing practice or even a tryout and therefore jeopardizing a position on the team. This means interference with vacation, travel, jobs and other commitments. Many students believe that this interference is not worth the extra preparedness that comes with an early preseason.

“They [the athletes] shouldn’t have to be at school before everyone else,” junior Angela Sime said.

However, there are those who see the early end to summer as the necessary month-long preseason that all other seasonal sports share in common. Generally, school sports tend to have a month practice-period before the first official game or match. Other supporters of an early August season don’t see the reason in delaying the preseason in summer simply because it’s in summer.

“If people truly enjoy the sport they won’t mind starting early,” freshman Giovanni Vaquerano said.

Giovanni argues in support of the beginning of the current fall season as many athletes do not mind participating in an activity they are fond of. Three-season athlete Ella Gaul exemplifies this persona.

“Anyone who loves sports can’t wait to begin the season and would be happy to see their teammates and coaches,” Gaul said.

Regardless of the opinion, the fall sports preseason can be said to interfere with the freedom of summer. The difference in attitude towards the interference likely stems from varying feelings for the sport itself, and whether or not the student-athlete is willing to compromise their summer plans for the “love of the game.”