Nearly every student at Belmont Hill has aspirations to play a varsity sport. Whether you are a seventh grader who dreams of playing in front of the Loop, or a senior looking to finish off your athletic career with your peers, everyone desires to play on a varsity team. Therefore, varsity tryouts are often highly competitive, filled with numerous talented boys vying for limited roster spots. After evaluating all the boys who are trying out, varsity coaches are left with many difficult decisions. A common predicament relates to seniors who are trying out for the team. Should varsity coaches prioritize seniors over other qualified athletes? Should coaches prioritize the needs of their teams or fulfill some students’ lifelong dream of playing a varsity sport? After consideration, varsity coaches should strike a balance between prioritizing seniors and building their team for success.
If seniors have developed their skills by diligently practicing both on their own and on JV teams, their hard work should be rewarded with a spot on a varsity team. Often, seniors and younger classmen are competing for one of the last spots on the team. In numerous sports, the last man on the team has a very small contribution during games. However, if a senior is willing to work hard and fill a role for the team, they should be on the varsity team; even if they aren’t going to score the most points or net the most goals, seniors can bring a maturity and leadership whose benefits can’t be quantified. Younger classmen should be given the opportunity to improve their skills and competitively play against others on a JV team. Rather than being a practice player for varsity, younger athletes gain valuable experience leading a team.
Conversely, a varsity coach needs to prepare their team for future success. If a young athlete shows extreme promise during tryouts, they should play on the varsity team. When a younger student excels at a certain sport, they should be playing at the highest level to better their skills. Additionally, playing on a varsity team can help a younger boy become more accustomed to expectations and roles on the team, thus preparing the team for success in the future. If a young student can be immediately valuable to the success of the varsity program, they should be given the opportunity to play.
Should varsity coaches prioritize seniors? Coaches need to remember to build their teams for success, but also to reward hard-working seniors. Seniors should not get a free pass; if a freshman or sophomore is an emerging star, they should be playing varsity. But if the decision is close, a dedicated senior should be prioritized. Seniors have given countless hours to their specific sport and deserve the opportunity to experience the comradery of a varsity team. Playing varsity sports during your senior year in high school is an invaluable opportunity that as many students as possible deserve to experience.