Later‌ ‌School‌ ‌Days‌ ‌from‌ ‌an‌ ‌Athlete’s‌ ‌Perspective‌ ‌


Julien Chow plays under the lights (photo courtesy of Karen Hickey)

David Gormley, Editor in Chief

As our fall semester kicks into full swing, Paly sports are feeling normal. Almost. Masks and social distancing measures during practices have faded for most sports. Teams are enjoying luxuriously long seasons after last spring’s truncated schedule. But carefully calibrated practice times have been upset as a result of Paly’s later school start times – and our new schedule isn’t without its controversy. 

First, I’ll acknowledge the obvious downside: It seems like our already bustling evenings have become even busier. By the time you’ve biked home, eaten, started that math homework you said you’d do yesterday, and stopped for a 45 minute Tik Tok break, it’s already closing in on midnight. The ungodly hours that used to be bedtime have somehow been pushed to even deeper in the night. 

That being said, as teenagers we are programmed to grumble over anything (and I certainly wasn’t initially a proponent of pushing practices back either), but in our frustration we seem to have forgotten a key benefit of our new schedule: later morning practices. Seven a.m. start times are a thing of the past and the groggy, frigid pain associated with morning workouts has become marginally less brutal. 

Ultimately, while our schedules have been shifted back, there are still 24 hours in a day. Later start times mean later dinners and later bedtimes, but it also gives us an equivalent amount of extra time in the morning. It’s not easy to make this shift, but as we learn to adapt it’s important to consider where we were a year ago: No school. No practice. No packed grandstands filled with Paly spirit. It’s hard to complain about later practices if the alternative is no practices at all. 

One last thought to take us into fall: If you’re playing a sport at Paly, or even if you do debate or sci-oly or theatre or however you contribute to our school, remember one thing: Paly games don’t last forever, so get out there and take it all in. Win and lose with grace. Don’t be afraid to give it everything. Capture every fleeting moment – even if those moments are now an hour later.