Fatigue isn’t just physical sweat

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Fatigue isn’t just physical sweat

Matthew Norwood, Staff Reporter

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If this school understands anything it is sports. All over school, no matter the season, people will be celebrating and preparing for the next sporting event, whether that be soccer, wrestling, volleyball, football, or one of the many others offered on campus.

Student-athletes are among the most respected on campus, as many wonder how they could balance academics with their sporting events. However this presents a problem as it seems like student-athletes are given plenty of leeway when it comes to grades if sports occupies them for considerable lengths of time.

While people watch in awe of the athlete’s physical prowess and school-wide fame, many forget the other extracurriculars which stress the more mental side of fatigue. Most assume that varsity athletics are the epitome of hard work in high school, and that the work they put in supersedes that of any other extracurricular just because you can see the sweat on their body and witness their feats of strength. From the way I see it, the difference between mental and physical fatigue isn’t as big as most think it is in the strain it can create.

Up until 10th grade, I was in football. I went to two-a-days (during the season at least) and I played games with everyone else every week. At times this meant waking up well before seven in the morning, and practicing for an hour twice in a day. Games would also be another hour and a half of off-and-on play, so that football was certainly a tiring activity.

That same year, I joined debate. Of course, with the learning curve, I spent 45 minutes everyday for the first month or two learning and studying the course. After that, every day was spent researching and preparing for tournaments, involving cutting cards and extensive formatting as well.

This didn’t seem like much, until I went to my first tournament. We left school at 8 a.m. to make the drive down to Austin, nearly four hours away. We got to the tournament and from 2-8 p.m. I debated non-stop that day. We got back to the hotel at 10:00 p.m. and slept until 7 a.m. the next day, when we debated until 10 p.m. that night, not getting home until 2:00 a.m.

That mental expenditure is the killer, too. Debate is hard. That’s two hours straight exercising every capacity your brain can muster. Then we do that up to six times in a day. Out of everything I’ve done, I have never been more exhausted than coming home from a long debate tournament.

This is not to discredit athletics, which are still the cream of the crop when it comes to reputation and still represent a good deal of work. Nevertheless, it’s worth realizing that just because it is physical doesn’t mean it is the only work, and there are certainly mental exercises which can be just as tiring. Being mindful of this can only help us all, as we can further respect each other and maybe recognize those who do such difficult mental tasks without recognition.

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