Flack Friday: Athletics and the Four Day School Week

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I start this week’s column off by sharing with you my favorite quote that I live by: “Our decisions determine our destiny.”

When you actually think about it, the daily decisions we make do indeed serve as a guiding force in the direction of our lives. But if you read the quote in a different light, you’ll see that it’s a collective statement about decisions. Notice that it doesn’t say, “your decisions determine your destiny,” although it can be interpreted and applied that way. Instead, the five word quote can also suggest that the decisions you and I make not only impact us, but rather, everyone.

I approach this topic carefully, and from a different perspective. With the upcoming vote on the proposed four day school week in Sweetwater County School District #1, I felt this would be an appropriate topic for the Flack Friday column. After speaking to a handful of coaches in our community, I believe that the athletic side of the four day school week has possibly been overlooked.

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The new schedule would include an eight-hour school day for secondary education. My fear, along with that of the coaches I spoke with, is that an eight-hour school day with an added, say, two-hour practice plus homework time afterwards will easily burn kids out. This will negatively influence both academics and athletics. Too much of anything can be a bad thing.

Another key point to look at is at the junior high level. With no school occuring on Friday, there will be no transportation and in return no practice. At that age, practice time is at it’s peak in terms of importance. Skills are still being developed and cutting Friday practices out will not only hurt student-athletes at the junior high, but also the strength of SWCSD1 athletic programs moving forward.

I am a believer in education and the importance of knowledge. History speaks to the importance of education. As a former student-athlete at Rock Springs High School, some of the most important lessons I ever learned were on the football field. Overcoming adversity, building trust and sacrificing for others were life lessons I took away from high school athletics. I wasn’t able to find those key foundational, character-shaping lessons in a textbook.

This is simply the perspective of students who participate in extracurricular activities (which I believe is a decent sized portion of the student population). Whatever the outcome may be, I hope it is in favor of the students and truly supports students’ efforts and goals.

Decisions determine destiny.


Brayden is a sports and community reporter for SweetwaterNOW. His column, Flack Friday, will be posted every Friday. You can submit comments, questions or ideas regarding the column to brayden@sweetwaternow.com.