Peyton Rodgers column: Life of a student athlete is hard, but worth it

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 6, 2014

The life of a student athlete is far from easy, as they tackle practices, games, homework, classes and even sometimes work each day.

Adison Collins, a student at Carson High School, does exactly that year round. She plays golf in the fall and softball in the spring. She also works at Advantage Gymnastics every weekend.

Collins participates in school clubs like Orange and Blue Crew, National Honors Society, Student Council and others.

Collins said her golf and softball seasons are the busiest times of the year for her.

“It gets really tiring and exhausting, but I do it to stay busy and have money,” she said.

Jaron McMasters, a junior, has been on Carson’s wrestling team for the past three years and wrestled three years before starting high school.

“Wrestling takes dedication along with mental and physical strength. It is probably one of the hardest sports. I do this because I want to make something great of myself,” he said.

McMasters spends two to four hours practicing each day after school in addition to the extra workouts he does at home.

Kiala Dyer is a dedicated South Rowan track and softball player.

She has played softball for eight years and now runs track as well. This is her fourth year on the track team.

Dyer practices four to seven days out of the week for at least three hours.

“It taught me to work hard and how to manage my time,” Dyer said.

To balance schoolwork and sports, she takes advantage of any available free time she has to finish her homework and studies. Sometimes she even brings her schoolwork to practice so she can study when she’s not running.

“It takes away from your free time. You have to have the will power to work hard and to improve,” Dyer said.

She added that her teammates are her closest friends, and she’s still close friend with several girls she no longer plays with.

Les-Lee Efird, the cross country coach at Carson, said that the sport takes a lot of dedication, but the girls on the team are what makes her want to strive to perform better herself.

She loves cross country, because everyone participates, or as she says it, “plays.”

Efird has a personal connection with her runners, and she enjoys those relationships very much.

I am also a student athlete and have been since I started playing tennis in seventh grade at China Grove Middle School.

In the past, I was also a member of China Grove Middle’s track team and Carson’s swim team.

Every year my team becomes a family, and we all support each other.

While I don’t work, I do intern once a week at the Salisbury Post, and I am a member of the Interact and What clubs at school.

Balancing schoolwork, sports and extracurricular activities can be a challenging, but as Collins, McMasters and Dyer said, it is 100 percent worth it.

Being on the tennis team allows me to stay in shape and train my body to be healthier – all while doing something I enjoy.

Free time and relaxation are hard to come by, because I am always busy with matches, practices and schoolwork.

The hard work is worth it, however. An overwhelming sense of pride comes over you the moment you cross the finish line or win your event. It’s satisfying to know you’ve accomplished something that not everyone can do and that you gave it your all and did your very best.