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Student Vs. Student Athlete

How do student athletes balance work and play?
Padraic Waller (26), defends a shot.
Padraic Waller (’26), defends a shot.


When playing sports, at some point in your life you’ve probably heard the phrase, “You’re a student-athlete. Student comes first.” But is this really true? What’s really the difference between a high achieving student and a student athlete? Today some students answered these questions.

All these students don’t really struggle with late work as they both have above average GPAs. Although their GPAs are good, there is definitely a difference in lifestyle.

When asked about what time they go to bed, Mordecai Rodgers (‘26) answered,”10:30 to 11 usually.”

Unlike Rodgers, Caleb Dunn (26’) says, “Majority of the time I will stay up till probably 11 or midnight. The latest is probably like 2 am if it’s a game.” Already there is about an hour to three hour time disparity between hours of sleep athletes get.

Mordecai Rogers (’26), studies for a test.

We all love to hang out and watch movies or going to hang out with friends after school, but with sports that severely limits the amount of fun time after school.

According to Dunn, “[Football practice and film] combined probably take up to 3 hours.” Dunn also suits up for JV and Varsity football so he has about 4 hours of real football games that he has to be there for. In total he spends about 21 hours including independent film study on football each week.

When Rodgers was asked this same question about extracurricular activities, he said “I hang out with friends, golf, play basketball. I’m rarely at home” Rodgers also said he spends about, “A good two to three hours on homework.”

Rodgers spends on average 12 and a half hours on homework each week, over half the time Dunn spends on football per week.

During the school day, their lives are nearly identical. It’s only days of away games that cause a disruption in normal school days. This year the boys football team has 5 away games, 4 of which are during the school week that can cause players to miss class and lose important lessons from their classes.

One of the biggest struggles of being a student athlete is missing so many lessons and ending up with stacks of homework. It’s the same as if a student was sick for a day of school, so much homework can pile up and it becomes hard to stay on track.

Currently football is only an after school activity, no morning weights or open gyms like basketball, but for other sports, this is their offseason.

Caleb Dunn (’26), takes a free throw.

Off seasons usually mean weights. In basketball, weights start off at 7:00am on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and open gyms about once a week. This means that these basketball athletes must wake up a lot earlier and have less time in the mornings to work on homework, study, or just get a good breakfast in.

Padraic Waller (‘26), Is currently training for basketball season by going to open gyms and weights three times a week. According to Waller, “I practice outside of school three to four times a week. Max two hours each time.”

Outside of weights and open gym, Waller spends about 8 hours a week outside

of school training. Adding in weights, that’s 11 total hours spent on training a week during the offseason. Although less than what Dunn does in-season, it’s still a lot to do especially with balancing schoolwork and all this training.

We all have our different struggles and things to do, but at the end of the day, these interviews help shed light on what it’s like and the individual priorities of a student athlete and a high achieving student. It’s up to you to decide what’s harder, being a student athlete or just being a student?

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About the Contributor
Hayden Foster
Hayden Foster, Staff
Hayden Foster is currently a Sophomore and is a broadcast journalist for Eagle Way. His hobbies include track, photography and hunting. After high school he plans on going to college for Videography and hopes to pursue a career in sports videography. This year he’s excited to learn how to do photography and video pieces for Eagle Way.

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