(Copyright 2000. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

September 4, 2000

Playing the sports game

By Mike Nguyen

The Tattoo

Athletic talent is rich in high school. And for a few sports,
not everyone gets to play. So here's some tips on how to
make the cut into the freshman team and to survive your
chosen sport.

There are plenty of reasons to make room in your schedule
for sports. Sports can get you scholarships, assuming you get
good grades.

Short term benefits include a better body and possibly girls,
but the hours are demanding and it can cut into your
academic life.

For all who don't already know, there are up to three "levels"
you have to climb for whatever sport you are doing.

Sports such as basketball, football, and soccer have a
freshman level.

Only freshman are on this level, but it doesn't mean you don't
have to try out, especially for sports like basketball, which
has a limited number of  players.

To make the team requires some effort, but as long as you
attend every single practice, show your utmost skill and craft
in the sport, and make sure the coaches see your effort, you'll
be fine, unless you happen to be competing for the spot
against NBA or WNBA players.

Freshman players don't get as much respect as JV and varsity
players do, but they still have to put in the same amount of
practice hours each day.

Yes, practices are on a daily basis including weekends, unless
you have a game. This goes for all sports.

And hours are long also, so make sure you eat breakfast, and
get a lot of homework done in those study halls, because
sports will take up a lot of your time and energy.

The first week or so of training will be very enduring, and
you'll see a lot of other players drop out or jump in, but after
a few weeks of training, everything will be more together,
and your body will be better able to handle the grueling
hours of practices.

The reward of winning a game or having the experience of
losing a game is worth it. A few  months, and approximately
12 to 16 games later, you'll be ready to advance into the
junior varsity level for next year.

Some of you are fortunate or unfortunate enough to already
be playing at a junior varsity level.

You've either proven that you have the ability to be with
sophomores and juniors or else your sport doesn't have a
freshman team.

Either way, the drill is the same, but you'll be put with
players who are a step ahead of you, already having a year or
two of the high school sport experience behind them.

You might not start this season or you might end up doing
all the heavy work such as carrying equipment, but remember
that seniority rules in high school. Just don't get intimidated
and don't be discouraged because halfway through the season
you haven't played one game yet.

Look at the starters, and learn from them because next year,
you'll be the one up there picking on the new freshmen.

Last, but surely not least, is varsity.

Only a handful of freshmen start their high school sports
career at the varsity level, but there are some who've proven
themselves worthy.

As a varsity player, you most likely won't be starting, but
you'll be able to get in a game every once in a while.

You'll also be moved back and forth to junior varsity or
freshman teams also, sometimes at two or three games in a
day, depending on the sport.

That's enough to get you started.

There are so many sports out there that it is incredibly hard
to find a sport that isn't right for you.

It really is a good experience to have behind you, and it
never hurts to have the title of "captain" one day, with that
all-expense-paid sports scholarship in your pocket, too.