The Uproar

The Varsity Privilege

Certain sports at NASH enjoy benefits that other sports do not

photo by Caroline Mura

photo by Caroline Mura

Caroline Mura, Reporter

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Everyone at NA knows somebody who plays school sports. Maybe they’re a member of the football team or a varsity basketball player. But I’d bet money that far fewer of you know someone who plays a sport outside of school.

As a competitive figure skater, I’m especially aware of the difference between school athletes and every other athlete.  A position on any school sports team reaps not only the physical activity benefits for your well-being, but brings with it tons of recognition, chances for scholarships, easier transport and even some leniency from school staff members.

First of all, athletes on school sports teams get the privilege of being recognized as scholar-athletes by the school. This distinction is awarded to students who achieve a certain grade point average while still balancing their school sport. When I was in middle school, these kids were recognized in an assembly, and I’m sure their names were also published in some kind of newsletter.

I always found myself wondering in that moment why I also couldn’t be recognized for balancing both my sport and my education. Other kids got their moment of pride in front of the school, making sure their name was one you wouldn’t forget anytime soon. I never got such an opportunity.

Some people are just the lucky recipient of what I call the “Varsity Privilege.”

Additionally, the varsity jackets, invitational t-shirts, and organized uniforms give school-sponsored athletes the opportunity to stand out in a crowd. They don’t even have to say a word for their accomplishments and importance to be known.

School sports are also a major factor when it comes to college admissions and scholarships. The presence of that sports team on your college applications makes you look like a well-rounded, involved individual. Universities also want talented athletes to play on their major sports teams, so they’ll offer scholarships to school athletes in order to get their talent onto their teams.

Unfortunately, this privilege doesn’t exist in nearly the same abundance for those of us who play or do far lesser known sports. Without the voice of the school backing you up, there’s little to testify for the years of hard work and passion you invested into your sport, leaving it as just some hobby overlooked by schools.

Lastly, balancing school and athletics becomes far easier when the school itself plays a major role in your activity. North Allegheny student athletes are automatically excused from classes they have to miss due to practices, games, and meets. Questions of whether or not your absence is approved are eliminated and the athlete is free to focus their mind on the task at hand.

Early dismissals for sports are also much easier when you have a designated spot for equipment. When leaving school, at or before the end of the day, school athletes are able to access their things efficiently and leave straight from the school. However, the rest of us are resigned to taking up most of our locker space with athletic bags or waste time retrieving sports equipment from home.

This is also tied to district transportation provided for sports teams. Concerns of escaping North Allegheny’s busy parking lots quickly enough to make it to practice on time are alleviated when a bus of athletes is provided with priority over other cars. However, if your non-school sponsored sport requires immediate transport from school to practice, the constant worry of arriving late resides in the back of your head.

As you can see, the difference between the rights of athletes affiliated with the school and those who aren’t is drastic, and it makes a difference in the ease of your high school life. It has little to do with these athletes themselves, who’ve never known it any other way. Some people are just the lucky recipient of what I call the “Varsity Privilege”.

About the Writer
Caroline Mura, Reporter
Caroline Mura is a junior at NASH this year and is super excited to be writing for The Uproar! Previously an Atlanta native, she moved to Pittsburgh in 2013. She is an avid figure skater and has been competing for eight and half years and plans to continue skating in college. Also, she loves chocolate,...
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