Change is hard.
Going from the top of the heap to the very bottom as a freshman in high school is not an easy change; furthermore, sports complicate the life of a freshman. Freshman athletes do all the chores like fetching water and carrying and collecting team gear to pay the dues to the team. Preseason workouts are another huge challenge for freshman. And finally, if freshman make the varsity team the level of competition can be much more intense.
There are many different freshmen jobs. Some of the jobs are similar and some are very different. Across the board, filling water bottles seems to be the most common job for the freshman athletes.
Bringing equipment also is very common. It usually includes getting soccer/volleyball/field hockey balls, getting pinnies, and cleaning up the equipment at the end of practice.
For Hershey field hockey freshman Ashley Arnold, “upperclassman volunteer to help us carry equipment or even drive us over to the field so that we don’t have to carry everything over at once” which helps to make their jobs and tasks move quickly and smoothly.
Hershey girls soccer freshman Sophia Speece had a similar yet different experience with it.
Ashley had students offering rides and help with equipment while Speece said, “They really help me by letting me know what I could do to make the play better. They also help with stuff outside of soccer. If you had a question or just wanted to talk to someone, they answer you and help you out.”
This is one of the main focuses for the girls soccer. They strive to have a family-like atmosphere which is mostly built during preseason.
All fall sports have some type of preseason. Some sports it is a time to get closer to your teammates and learn their playing style, but for most it is a very hard time with difficult practices and conditioning.
“It involved running, working and learning as a team and supporting each other during the hard drills,” said Speece.
Speece had the experience where even if it was hard, the team came together and supported each other, which strengthens the physical, mental, and cooperative parts of the game.
Arnold had a similar experience on the field hockey team with their team bonding.
“We would have a 3 hour practice everyday … and also had team bonding activities or runs on some of those days,” said Arnold.
The preseason may be harder, but school gets harder too. Time management becomes very important to any student athlete.
“I feel that I have good time management for school and sports and study hall is helpful as well,” said Arnold.
Study hall allows the student athlete to complete their day’s homework during the school day.
Overall, the biggest difference for Arnold was the level of competition.
“I am now playing with and against girls that are up to 3 years older than me,” said Arnold.
Since Arnold is a freshman playing varsity it is highly likely she could be playing against seniors. With that age gap, there is usually a difference in the style of the game. The game may become more physical, technical and mental.
Speece thought that the team itself was the biggest difference.
“In high school sports you really bond with your teammates. Everyone has each other’s backs, the team becomes a family, teammates learn different traits and go through problems as one whole team. However, in middle school you are all just friends having a good time,” said Speece.
Although in middle school you have team challenges, in high school you have team problems that are solved together and not by the coach.
There are many changes from high school to middle school. Some academically, some mentally, some in sports. The changes are never consistent. It depends on the sport and the teammates.