Senior year vs sports participation: why some are opting out of their seasons

April 5, 2024 — by Caitlin Stoiber
Graphic by Jex Popov
Life changes force hard decisions, say most. 

With spring sports in full swing, some seniors have chosen to sit out their last possible season of participation. The Falcon interviewed three seniors who made this choice.  

Swimming 

Jarrett Singh had been on the swim team since his freshman year, but decided not to rejoin the team for his last year in high school. 

Singh thinks the swim attendance policy is too rigid for him this year, given that he is now a second semester senior.  He wanted to use this  time period to be more relaxed before heading off to college in the fall. 

“[It’s] your second semester and you want to have a lot of fun with your friends, you want to go out all the time,” Singh said. 

Singh notes that while having a social life and participating in a sport are not necessarily separate, participating in a sport as time consuming as swimming makes it more difficult, especially when the same friends do not do the same sport. 

In making his decision, Singh also considered the point of view of the coaches, agreeing that it didn’t make sense for him to join the team if he wouldn’t be able to attend practices. 

“I understand the coaches’ perspective: They want to maintain the standard of the team,” Singh said. “And if all the seniors are gone all the time, what’s the point?”

Additionally, many of Singh’s friends did not choose to participate in swimming this year, another factor that led to Singh leaving the sport. 

While Singh is taking a break from swimming this year, he hopes to continue the sport in college by joining a club team or swimming recreationally. 

Track

Deniz Alaybeyi has been running since she was in elementary school: she participated in track and field all throughout middle school and during her junior year in high school. 

Alaybeyi has been a rower in the Los Gatos Rowing Club since her freshman year, except for the spring semester her junior year when she did track at SHS, running the 1600, 3200 and 800 meters. 

Alaybeyi realized that she had burned herself out both physically and mentally by rowing and did not find herself enjoying the sport she once loved, leading her to take a break from rowing and join track instead. 

“Joining track and telling my [rowing] teammates and coaches that ‘it was something I always wanted to try’ was my excuse to leave the team because I was too embarrassed to just say I was quitting,” Alaybeyi said.

Though Alaybeyi decided to go back to rowing after one season of track, she doesn’t regret her decision of joining the team, even if it was just for a few  months. 

“I ended up really enjoying track and was happy with my decision,” Alaybeyi said. 

Through track, Alaybeyi was able to realize how much she missed rowing. 

“Taking a break from rowing made me realize that I really do have a passion for the sport and I wanted to continue doing it in college,” she said.

Though Deniz had concluded her track and field career at Saratoga, she remains grateful for her experiences and cherishes memories she won’t forget for a long time.

“My favorite memories were definitely the Saturday morning runs and getting breakfast with my friends afterwards,” Alaybeyi said. “I will miss my friends and the sense of community I shared with the team.”

As for her future with running, Alaybeyi still runs recreationally. 

And as for rowing, Alaybeyi will be walking onto the team at Boston University, a D1 school for rowing, in the fall, where she will continue her rowing career. Alaybeyi plans to study neuroscience on the pre-med track.

Baseball

Senior Nathan Lee has been playing baseball since he was 8 years old, from farm ball, a division of baseball meant for younger kids who are just starting to play, to competitive ball, the division for more dedicated athletes looking to play in college or professionally, outside of school. However, he has since retired from the sport this year, instead focusing his time on other areas. 

Lee discussed how baseball was a huge commitment for him. Though he was very committed to the sport in previous years, as his priorities and aspirations for the future shifts, so does his use of time. 

“I’m going to study nursing in college,” Lee said. “And there’s other things like volunteering that I want to get done [before college].”

In the fall, Lee will be attending Cal Baptist University (CBU).

Lee is currently volunteering at Imagine Daycare, Christian daycare where toddlers and preschoolers can learn basic life skills needed for elementary school and beyond. 

Lee was inspired to volunteer at Imagine Daycare for two reasons: First, he wanted to obtain volunteer hours he could use to improve his resume in order to apply to CBU’s nursing program. But more importantly, Lee looks up to the man who runs the preschool. 

“He has shown me a lot of kindness and love,” says Lee. “I want to help him and his wife with their work.”

As for his future plans with baseball, Lee does not plan on playing in college. 

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