Athletics: How Sports Change Lives


Shorecrest Scots power through a game of Football.

To the average spectator, success for our Scots seems to come easy, but there is a lot more going on behind the scenes that make our athletes winners of District and State titles. Much of that unseen effort is done during long and grueling practices. Senior wrestler, football player, and thrower Simon Dalton knows a lot about hard work, practicing for wrestling every morning from 5:30 to 7:30, and then again after school. Although a very committed athlete, he has had struggles over the course of his athletic career. “Freshman year for wrestling was really tough,” explains Dalton. Coming into high school level competition was not an easy transition, “the practices weren’t fun, they sucked,” he says.

Hip Hop dancer Destiny Stevens can empathize, she practices two to six hours each day, sometimes up to six days a week. And like any athlete, her dedication can conflict with being a student. “You kind of have to make [your sport] your priority,” says Stevens, who has to do most of her work at school. In fact, 26% of Shorecrest athletes who responded to a poll claim that their sport has, at times, made it hard to get schoolwork done. “I don’t get home until eight or nine at night,” says Dalton, “so I don’t have a lot of free time.”

While our athletes may not have all the time in the world to attend events or hang out with friends, 76% say that participating in a sport makes them feel more involved in the Shorecrest community and helps them meet new people. “We’re like a family,” says Stevens about her Hip Hop team. “It’s made high school really nice knowing I have the best support system and that family to lean on whenever I need them.” Our athletes feel like part of a bigger community here at Shorecrest, one-third of them name sports as the single most important part of their high school experience. There is something to the competition, team dynamic, and the love of putting on a Shorecrest jersey at least once a week that drives these athletes. “We’re out there representing the school,” says Dalton.

When competing, worry and fear of failure can be inevitable. Shorecrest athletes care about their sports, which means 50% of them say that sports can cause stress at times. “Before every [wrestling] match, even now, you get really nervous,” says Dalton. “Because you don’t have another teammate out there, it’s just you and the other guy fighting it out.” When Physical Poetry, Hip Hop’s biggest performance and fundraiser, rolls around, Stevens says she and the rest of her team are often overwhelmed. For many students, their sport is also a way to destress and forget their problems, if only for a few hours, “When I’ve had really tough days, it’s hard for me to want to [go to practice].” Stevens explains, “but once you’re in there dancing, there’s nothing else you’re doing.”

Of course, out of constant involvement comes passion and interest. Sports teach our athletes countless valuable lessons and inspire them to achieve. “Sports have taught me discipline, patience, and how to work hard,” says Junior Cross-Country and Track and Field Runner Delaney McCormack. Others agree, “It teaches you a lot,” says Dalton about Wrestling. As a captain, he refines his leadership and organizational skills. But the most influential part of his sport is the workouts, “the practices are really intense, harder than any other sport I’ve ever played, so it teaches you discipline and breaking your own comfort zone.” He says, “You really have to push yourself far and go past a level you’re not used to going past. It really shapes your character.”

Character development is something they carry for the rest of their lives. Including Dalton and Stevens, 15% of Shorecrest athletes plan to play a sport in college. And others, such as Senior Cross-Country runner Chastin Barnes, plan to go even further. “Because of [the coaches] and their impact individually, it has made me want to become a cross-country coach and a teacher,” Barnes says. “So I can become like them and encourage children to go above and beyond, and be good runners, and exercise.”

Whether on varsity or JV, a one-sport or a three-sport athlete, playing for one year or their entire lives, everyone is affected by the struggles and achievements that go along with being a competitor. Many may not see the influence athletics have on Shorecrest students and high schoolers all over the world, but our athletes do. “I don’t think I’d be even close to the same person I am now without wrestling,” says Dalton. He, along with the rest of our athletes, know that the biggest wins are often born out of the biggest losses, that sacrifices need to be made in order to be great, and that the workouts and competitions they participate in today have unmeasurable impacts on their futures.