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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Athletes remark on effects of starting a sport after freshman year

salas
David Sparkman
Senior defensive tackle Abraham Salas started playing on the school’s football team for the first time sophomore year.
“I had never played on a football team before,” Salas said.  “It was a little difficult for me to get used to the football terms and learning all the plays on offense that the other players already knew.”
Salas said that some of his friends convinced him to try the sport out.
“A lot of guys on the team wanted me to play,” Salas said, “But seniors Austin and Spencer McMath and Jake Hadden [mostly] convinced me to try it out.”
Salas no longer feels behind compared to the other players.
“I feel like I caught up, but I just had to work a bit harder in the weight room and on the field in order to compete at the level of my teammates,” Salas said.
Still, Salas does wish he had started football freshman year.
“I do regret it, [because] I don't believe there were any benefits to starting later,” Salas said.
Even so, Salas is glad he tried out this few sport.
“Football has been the best experience of my high school career, and I would do it over again in a heartbeat,” Salas said.
Senior defensive end Edward White also began playing football as a sophomore, just because “it looked fun,” but disagrees with Salas about the benefits.
“I don't regret not playing freshman year,” White said. “Joining later is beneficial because you receive the motivation to catch up with and perform just as well as your teammates.”
White believes that the point at which an athlete starts a sport has little effect in the long run.
“Starting a sport later doesn't change your experience much because you'll either like the sport or not, and you'll end up befriending your teammates even if you started later,” White said.
White also feels he has been able to make a lot of progress since he began football.
“I feel that I have somewhat caught up with my teammates because even though I still receive advice from my teammates, I have been able to give advice to my teammates as well,” White said.
 According to junior lacrosse midfielder Rachel Perera, who played lacrosse for the first time sophomore year, the overall experience was “enlightening.” Perera said, “I just figured, ‘Hey I'm athletic, why not?’”
“It wasn’t that bad, because there were a lot of freshmen who hadn’t played before either, so I wasn’t the only newbie,” Perera said.
According to Perera, it was different, but enjoyable.
“It’s the only time I’ve ever tried out for a sport with which I have zero experience in high school. It took me out of my comfort zone a little, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Perera said. “It was kind of nice having no pressure at all to be good because I wasn’t supposed to have any skills.”
Perera said that the first day was hard, but her teammates were encouraging.
“I remember being really confused and lost on the first day [because] I didn’t know any of the terminology,” Perera said. “I definitely looked like a fool those first couple of days, but everyone was so helpful and supportive that it didn’t matter much at all.”
Perera, who was on the track team freshman year during lacrosse season, said she is torn on whether or not she should have started lacrosse sooner. 
“Sometimes I do regret not playing freshman year, but I got to know some really amazing people from doing track, so I definitely wouldn’t take away that experience,” Perera said.
For the most part, Perera believes that it makes a big difference to start playing a sport early.
“It can determine which team you are on which years, and how competitive you are about it,” Perera said. “As for me, I don’t think it made a huge difference [because] I feel like I’ve mostly caught up on the year I missed out.”
Perera said it was her teammates’ support that helped her to grow as a lacrosse player.
“Whenever I asked questions, people were really patient,” Perera said. “My teammates were always there for me, from beginning to end. I never hesitated to ask, because I felt really comfortable with everyone on my team.”
 
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