Competing Through The Seasons


Photo by Andrew Hale

Senior Kenneth Wallace (69) rushing the passer on Senior Night against Lincoln-Way West on Oct. 22.

There are many students at H-F who participate in sports during the fall, winter, spring and summer seasons. There are a select few who have decided to balance academics along with not one but two sports during the school year. 

For most, the sports that these athletes play in high school are sports in which they have played their entire lives.

For senior Mark Gislason, playing soccer and water polo has been something that he has participated in since a child, but it wasn’t until his gym swimming unit that he realized he had the ability to play water polo at a high school level.

“At first I planned on only playing soccer,” Gislason said. “But during my gym swimming unit, Mr. Olson saw me throwing around a water polo ball and recruited me to come to tryouts.”

For a period of time, during his sophomore year, Gislason had to balance the tasks of being a part of the swim team as well as playing soccer and water polo. 

Due to the stress of all three sports, Gislason decided that it was best to only play soccer and water polo during his junior and senior year to balance out academics with athletics. 

For others, like senior Kenneth Wallace, wrestling was a sport that he discovered in high school.

“Football was always a sport that I’ve played since I was a young kid but when I got to high school I played baseball, wrestling and all kinds of new sports,” Wallace said. “Football has always been my favorite hands down, but I have love for wrestling and it’ll always be in my heart.”

As much as a challenge playing two sports is, some athletes have even contemplated just focusing on one sport and dropping the other. 

“Baseball is my main sport and going into the summer I wasn’t planning on playing soccer again,” senior Charlie Faoro said. “My friends ended up convincing me to play and go to tryouts.”

These student athletes have also found some correlation between the sports in which they play. Soccer, baseball, wrestling and water polo have some similarities that most might not think of.

“I definitely see benefits from water polo in my soccer throw-ins,” Gislason said. “I took most of the throw-ins this year for soccer because of how far I am able to throw the ball; I can definitely attribute that to polo.”

While some sports, like baseball and soccer, don’t have many direct correlations, they do offer each other benefits when it comes time for the start of the season.

“Playing soccer has helped me get my legs stronger and get me in better shape for baseball,” Faoro said. “All the running in soccer has helped me be able to throw more pitches in games because my legs aren’t as tired and fatigued.”

Not only can playing two sports benefit an athlete physically, it can also help with an athlete’s mentality and other external factors such as their integrity.

“Playing two sports helps me be a better athlete both mentally and physically,” Wallace said. “Football benefits me for a lot of things like sportsmanship and endurance as well as teaching me to leave it all out on the field.”

Sports, like wrestling, also helps student athletes regulate their diet in order to stay in shape and make weight.

Obviously student athletes won’t have to worry about balancing these sports at the same time but the work that goes into preparing for these sports will potentially be back to back in terms of a season ending and a season starting. 

“There isn’t really time management when playing football and wrestling,” Wallace said. “Sometimes the seasons intertwine when we make and go far into the playoffs, but most of the time we finish right in time for the wrestling season.”

Playing one sport and balancing it with academics is a challenge on it’s own, but playing two creates an even bigger challenge that student athletes have to endure.

Of course with balancing multiple sports at a time, along with academics, sacrifices must be made.

“It can be hard, but sometimes I have to sacrifice time in other areas of my life,” Gislason said. “I often neglect some time for sleep and studying to be able to play.”