Middle school sports may be seen as quaint; arguably not many people care about them, they're not played at the same high level as high school sports. However, middle school sports are important in developing an athlete's skills.
Looking back, high school athletes may not think that the practices may not have been as hard as they thought they were, but the practices were still important and a challenge for those who are first starting to play competitive sports.
“Looking back not really (were practices difficult), but when I was that age and level, yes,” said Sam Kubishta, a freshman at Griswold High School.
Participating in a new sport can be a lot for a new athlete, especially if they hadn't participated in that specific sport before. But it serves its purpose: to hone the athlete's skills.
High school sports tend to be geared more towards winning their games while improving the athlete's skills. This becomes especially important in high school sports for athletes hoping to get a scholarship to the school they want to enroll in.
This prospect can perhaps make middle school athletes nervous; they hear that high school sports are harder and coaches expect more from every athlete.
Ainsley Curtiss a middle schooler at Helix School says, “I think it'll be harder, but not in the way I expect.”
And while middle school sports tend to be seen as a mere stepping stone towards bigger goals, it's still important.
Participating in middle school sports in important to a student who may not know if they like the sport, or even if they want to continue it in high school.
“It made me appreciate the sport more,” said Kubishta.
And while theoretically, the two are the same, they have many different aspects. There are differences in how middle school sports hone athlete’s skills and get them prepared for what it'll be like in high school, but young athletes also learn about the different ways of training for each sport.
For example, Kubishta remembers his time in cross country. In middle school, they would run to the Helix Market, while now running greater distances; for one practice, the team even ran the 10 miles to Athena.
"They're the same sports but they have different aspects,” said Kubishta.
And although high school sports may be harder, they tend to be very rewarding. The wins, the crowds, and the training get more and more vigorous. However, both Curtiss and Kubishta agree that it is worth it.
Both Curtiss and Kubishta wanted to continue competing after middle school was over. Curtiss has expressed that doing middle school sports have been fun, but she's ready to get out with the ‘big dogs.’
Curtiss says that she has been inspired by many of the high school girls, expressing that she wants to ‘be as good as them.’
And one thing is for sure, she is ready for next year.
“Yeah, I’m excited for next year,” said Curtiss.
And while the training was harder, and the freshman found himself working harder than he ever had before, he knew he still wanted to continue.
“I felt like if I left, it wouldn't be a good thing for me later on,” said Kubishta.