After playing seven years of volleyball, I know what it’s like to be a student athlete; the year-round busy schedule, having to sacrifice your social life, the stress of tryouts, balancing school with practices and games. It can all be very overwhelming at times but also extremely rewarding.
However, I only ever played one sport. So this month I talked to juniors Jenna Gomes and Stephanie Gallis about their lives as multisport athletes and the impact it has had on their lives.
When asked to name all of the sports that she has ever played, Gomes listed more sports than most people will ever play in their life: swim, basketball, soccer, volleyball, beach volleyball, track and field, field hockey, softball, gymnastics, dance, and t-ball. Currently, she dedicates her time to a comparatively modest schedule of basketball, volleyball, and beach volleyball.
Gallis provided a similarly lengthy list, and currently devotes her time to water polo, softball, basketball, and swim. And these lists don’t even mention the addition of club sports.
It would be hard for the common Pres girl, and even the common Pres athlete, to understand how these two athletes could manage such a busy schedule. But for Gomes it is quite simple: “I never have breaks which, contrary to common belief, I love. I get extremely anxious if I am not in season as sports are my passion.”
However, with the transition from middle school to high school, Gomes and Gallis were both forced to drop a few of their sports due to season conflicts and Gomes has experienced similar overlaps between volleyball and basketball seasons. She admits that doubling up on practices would definitely be a long day, but a long day of doing what she loves.
It is a common assumption that playing so many sports at once would hinder an athlete’s ability to truly dedicate themselves and reach their full potential in one particular sport. However, for Gomes, the opposite is true.
“My different increased academic workloads. Both remember it as being an extremely difficult decision, but necessary all the same.
“I always decided to go forward with the sport that I felt would be harder for me to live without and which ultimately meant more to me,” Gallis said.
Gomes even said she would love to play multiple sports per season if she could. However, the Presentation Athletic Department has rules against doubling up both in season and between seasons.
After being pulled up to the varsity basketball team for CCS last year, Gallis had to miss out on almost all of the preseason of softball because of these rules. Unfortunately, overlaps like these are common with such extensive sports schedules. “It brings up the problem of deciding which event, whether it be practice or a game, is more important to go to,” she said.
positions in my sports have actually benefited each other. With basketball, being strong, fast, and having correct footwork has helped me with being quick and strong in volleyball.” Gomes also cited swim with helping her core strength and her position as goalie in soccer with helping her jump and dive.
Despite their love for so many sports, both athletes aspire to eventually narrow it down to one sport to play in college, even if they aren’t quite sure yet which sport that will be. Not being able to devote all of their time to one sport has made things more complicated in their collegiate athletic processes, but neither Gomes nor Gallis feels hindered by it.
Being multi-sport athletes has also had a profound effect on their lives, Gomes in particular. While her athletic life has taken potential time away from her academics, it has not hindered her abilities.
“I work hard to be the best athlete that I can be and that hard work has transfered into my everyday life,” she said. “My family and teachers have told me to treat school like a game and with that mindset I am able to apply hardwork and dedication in my academics just as I do in my athletics.”
Gomes and Gallis might make it sound easy, but they both admit that their athletic lifestyles have forced them to make many sacrifices as well. From parties and hanging out with friends to family time, there is much they have to give up in order to meet the requirements of both sports and school. But they do it for the simple love of the game.
“Being an athlete is something no one should take for granted. Sports are a gift and they can be taken away at any moment whether that be injury or not,” said Gomes, who has had her fair share of concussions and other injuries. “Each day that one can step onto a court, field, or jump into a pool is a true blessing.”
We can be sure that both Gomes and Gallis have taken full advantage of the blessing that is sports, and I am sure they will be able to follow their passion for sports and use the lessons they have learned for the rest of their lives.