Local prep student-athletes are taking advantage of unscheduled time to improve their sports skills

There are a plethora of choices for young people during the summers on the lake. The options available as far as how to pass the hours that students would at other times of the year spend in a classroom are often limited only by what their parents will allow them to do.
The call of the wild is strong. I can hearken back to my days in elementary, middle and high school how much I desired to simply spend the entire day goofing off with my friends. The lack of stipulations, requirements, appointments and regulation was exhilirating.
Perhaps that is exactly why the teams I was on never won many games. While we were at the municipal swimming pool downing nachos and going head-first down the water slide to experience the thrill of both the ride and purposely breaking the rules, our competition was sweating out the hot days of July on the field.
The young people on the lake now are making different choices. While they could be at home playing the latest console game or out taking in the latest summer blockbuster film, they are going through a number of drills while the humidity swarms around them.
Student-athletes who play multiple sports are the busiest during the summer. A camp for one sport usually runs for a week, and normally on different weeks because multiple teams at the area schools use the same facilities.
Just in the past week at School of the Osage, there has been open gym for basketball players, a wrestling clinic, football camp and a girls’ soccer camp. Volleyball camp will be held next week for the Indians. Similar schedules have been held for the summer at Camdenton High School as well.
To say that students are the only ones sacrificing for the betterment of the athletic programs would be short-sighted, however. The families of these athletes also feel the heat.
For families with multiple students involved in different sports, the summer sports schedule can be especially strenous. The world outside of the scholastic relam goes on as usual despite the time shift. Parents of these student-athletes still have their 9-to-5 responsibilities to tend to.
When it could be more convenient to simply blow it off, these parents use their lunch hours, arrange rides and take time off to not only enable their children to participate in these summer activites, but attend them as well.
At all of the summer events I have attended so far this year, there has been a crowd of parents who are there to watch their child(ren). The support that they show simply by being there is tremendous.
The work necessary for these families goes beyond scheduling rides and being a spectator, however. There is extra laundry to do, quick meals to prepare all while settling the normal sibbling skirmishes and finding some way to get the gum out of the carpet in the van.
There is a danger, however. That danger isn’t the threat of dehydration or anything warm temperatures pose. Those running these summer athletic activities do a superb job of making sure that the youth in their charge stay hydrated and avoid any heat-related calamities.
The potential harm that I’m speaking of is an inbalance in priorities. While it is true that if these student-athletes want to get ahead of their competition, they need to take advantage of every opportunity afforded them to improve, it’s also true that these are games for kids. There should be a balance of time to work on their skills and time to build their friendships. The development of their memories of summer freedom is just as important as their memories of athletic prowess. Parents, who know their children best, should make the decision as to how much is too much sports during the summer.
Take stock of what’s going on around you. Congratulate those students who choose to spend their time trying to get better, because their competition is doing exactly that. Marvel at the mothers who find a way to finish their work in time to get their kids to camp on time so they don’t have to run laps. Delight in the dedication of the dads who sit on the bleachers in the heat and watch their kids try to impress them with their skills.
Coaches, parents, family members, friends and student-athletes are no less busy than they are during the school year with sports. There is just as much, if not more, to be done during the summer. Defining the months when classes aren’t being held as a “break” isn’t really accurate.