Academics and athletics are a balancing act

Senior David Matlock has become a top scholar-athlete at Stratford

David Matlock, Gazebo Sports Writer

After a long day of football practice, I would catch a ride home, shower and finish dinner.

But just when I felt like going to bed, I would realize I had homework in all four of my AP classes and an article to write for journalism.

Since my freshman year, my average school day has ended at around 7 p.m. I was only able to begin homework as late as 9.

David Matlock, No. 56 on the left, was a co-captain for the Eagles football team.

Anyone involved with an extracurricular knows the amount of dedication it takes. Theatre, sports, academic teams or just any individual hobby requires all of your focus if you want to get better.

That is easily said, but you have to maintain a good enough GPA so the school and your parents allow you to continue what you do. What is acceptable for school was not to my own standards.

My mother has always said to me, “Just as easily as you step on that field, I can easily yank you off if your grades are not to my liking.”

So I have had to manage my workload while keeping my team a top priority.

Of course, my senior year has allowed me to be more lenient on my workload. But there is still the looming challenge over my head to make sure everything gets done.

During all my time at Stratford, I have never been perfect at covering all of my subjects.

My freshmen and sophomore year were easier. While many people would dispute sophomore year as being an “easy” year, I started to struggle last year as a junior when I was tasked with four very challenging AP classes.

It was additionally stressful because I had earned a starting spot on the football team. I had never truly experienced the stress of playing a varsity sport while juggling a serious school workload.

I tried my absolute hardest to finish all my work, but I found myself getting four hours of sleep. My performance at practice, in class and all-around suffered because my body was under heavy amounts of stress.

If you’re trying to remain competitive in the field and in the classroom, you have to be willing to have a misstep in school. I would have at least once a week when I would turn in a homework assignment late because I had to make sure that I got a reasonable amount of sleep.

This sounds completely like a heretical statement, but one late homework assignment with seven or eight hours of sleep was completely worth it.

However, any off days I had would have to be completely dedicated to school, so that meant more work on the weekends and spending nights on assignments rather than out with friends.

I found that the most success I had balancing both of my obligations was by sacrificing certain things that weren’t as important in the long run.