Do it for the state championship: what athletes sacrifice for success


Christi Carras

Junior and cross country runner Ben Anderson poses with a hard-earned state championship trophy.

With the recent winter recognition assembly, it is important to realize the high culture of sports here at Central. The Red Devil Nation Facebook page inciting school spirit before every major basketball game (and occasional jabs at LT) or even just simple high fives for stellar athletes in the hallways are just a few ways for students to express their appreciation. Yet, some are left wondering just what role sports play in the academic and psychological side of the student body.

Just recently, Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers cited fear of repeated head trauma as a reason to retire from professional football, despite having a very promising career of being a star linebacker ahead of him. It is enough to make one wonder just how much people are willing to sacrifice for sports.

In my own experience as a swimmer, I sacrificed many of my morning hours to the sport. In my pursuit to be a better swimmer, I chose to wake up every morning at 5:30 during the winter, even through winter break. Athletes here at Central must infuse this level of dedication and discipline.

Yet, I have often felt that my sport sapped a lot of my motivation for other aspects of my student life. The tiredness after a grueling practice left me less enthusiastic about learning or participating in class. I felt too exhausted at times to put my full focus on my homework or tests most nights.

Still, I feel like my efforts are worth it in the end. I have made a lot of close friends and found my athletic abilities to exceed any expectations I have made for myself. However, I am aware that my sport does not hold the same possible detriments as many contact sports.

Other students here at Central share the same sentiment.

“[Sports] provide not only a means of exercise but also a way for students to compete in a controlled environment,” said Ben Anderson, junior and cross country runner. “Personally, I find my sport extremely fulfilling and it keeps you in great shape. I guess if you’re getting injuries that jeopardize your health in the long run, you should reconsider doing your sport. Otherwise, there aren’t many bad things I can think of.”

“Sports have a pretty positive impact on people,” said Nick O’Grady, junior and volleyball player. “I guess exercise develops your mind and encourages you to get better grades, since coaches always motivate you to succeed in all aspects. Sports can still put you at risk though, especially if you let sports be more important than school or family.”

The Central culture of high success and high achievement has seeped through time and time again into all aspects of the student body. This is especially prevalent in our seven IHSA championship wins and countless other successes. I believe that all students go into their respective sports knowing the risks and sacrifices they have to make. In the end, all of their efforts are rewarded, perhaps in ways they never could have thought.