Sports and Education Part II

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Finding a balance between being a student and being an athlete

WHEN we speak of the word balance, perhaps a measuring scale comes to mind and two things being equal to each other. I am sure we were told at least once in our lives that we need to balance all aspects of our lives, including sports and academics but what does it really mean to do so? As discussed last week, sports and physical education have many benefits as it relates to academical achievements. However, just like every other aspect of life—we must have ‘balance’. Students who are also athletes sometimes find it difficult to excel in one aspect over the other for many reasons. Perhaps, you have a liking for sports over education so you choose to commit more to that, your examinations and assignments are of more importance to you, your study schedule clashes with your sport practice schedule or after practice you’re too exhausted to study. Whatever the reason may be— for many, it might be difficult as it is to balance the two.

It is important that we balance the two for many reasons. For starters, let’s say your career in sports did not work out—you would still have your educational background to kickstart a new career/job. If you want to become a successful athlete, it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. That very hard-work and dedication may overlap and get in the way of your studies. Here’s the deal, age and physical health go hand in hand. As we age, our ability to perform physically might decrease. Athletes have a higher rate of retiring compared to other jobs/career choices. As such, I would like all my young athletes to keep in mind the fact that you might retire at the age of 30 or 40 depending on your bodily processes. Do you think you’ll be able to remain retired? Or would you like to have a plan B career/job option?

Garfield Benjamin is a cricketer from Berbice who played for the Ancient County for the past five years and he also represented Guyana at the Under-15 level and was a National Under nineteen selectee. He accomplished all of this while attending the New Amsterdam Multilateral and New Amsterdam Technical Institute. His advice for balancing sports and education for you is: “Balancing sports and education is not as hard a task as people would talk about it or many may make it seem. It’s not hard, then again it’s not the easiest thing to do. But what was the key for me, is the support of my family and them believing that I can do the best in both of these worlds. You would also need to be in a good mental state of mind. Because honestly, if you don’t have that support there’s no real point in being involved in sports. There were many times when a tough decision had to be made and games were coming up around exam season, but my family trusted and believed in me that I could handle it and it eventually paid off. I successfully completed high school and my two years at the tertiary educational institute while still being able to perform successfully in my games.”

As Garfield mentioned, you would need a very strong support system to help you. You simply cannot accomplish it all on your own. If not your family, perhaps supportive friends/classmates, teachers you trust or your fellow teammates; be sure to surround yourself with supportive people and even those who can assist you. You need your mental health in-check if you’re to balance the two. While sports can be a great stress outlet, it can also cause stress if taken very seriously. Taking breaks and relaxing may help you ease your mind. You can make a study schedule and practice schedule, so the timings would not overlap. It is important that you manage your time wisely and stay organised as much as you can. Procrastination is not your best friend if you are to maintain balance, in all aspects of your life. Stay focused and concentrate on one task at a time.

Both sports and education are important aspects. Sports can teach you many skills you may not learn in schools. From team building and patience to discipline and time management; they can all be very helpful. You can also have a career in sports as long as you can upkeep excellent physical health. Education can be a useful tool to gain employment elsewhere is sport fails—it gives you choices. My mother would say, “Nobody can ever take your education away from you” and my dad would say, “Sports is an essential tool for proper education”. Without a doubt, they are both correct.