Extraordinary Athletes In More Than One Sport

Raptors describe the two different sides of the sports that they play.

Playing any sports allows athletes to stay healthy, but it often brings so much more. Athletes must accommodate their physical and mental endurance to the different sports that they play, but also build communication with their coaches and connections with their teammates. Some, very dedicated, Raptors do all of that for more than one sport.

Megan Wilcox batting during a softball game at EHS (Megan Wilcox).

Sophomore Megan Wilcox plays both softball and tennis. Softball is a fall sport while tennis comes full swing in spring. Even though softball is her true passion, tennis is her stress-reliever away from softball. “I have played softball my entire life. It teaches you life skills and discipline. I’m also just drawn towards competition,” said Wilcox. “Tennis is a break for me from the stress that softball carries. It’s like an escape. It also ties me to my brother.” Wilcox admired her brother’s dedication to both school and sports. Because of how dedicated Wilcox’s brother was, he inspired Wilcox to be the best she could be.

Since Wilcox takes softball much more seriously than tennis, the atmosphere in softball is much more competitive. “ For softball, we are all around the same skill set and have to work extra hard to get playing time. Tennis, however, many of the girls haven’t played before or have little experience,” said Wilcox.

Even though tennis is a leisure sport for Wilcox, tennis still requires the same strength that softball needs. “Both sports physically need strong upper bodies for a swing with a racket or a bat, but mentally you have to be tough for both,” said Wilcox. 

Being mentally tough doesn’t only apply to softball and tennis, it also applies to other sports. Sophomore Haleigh Nunley plays both volleyball and lacrosse. Volleyball is a fall sport while lacrosse is a spring sport. Nunley started lacrosse in fifth grade and started volleyball in sixth grade. “I played volleyball because my mom played volleyball in high school. So I wanted to keep the tradition going,” said Nunley.

Nunley plays on the sophomore team for volleyball and the varsity team for lacrosse.

Both sports are a team sport, good communication is essential for the team to succeed. Communication between the athletes also builds trust throughout the whole team. For lacrosse, the bond comes from supporting their teammates in everything. As for volleyball, it’s the communication and team bonding that’s done outside of the season which builds the trust that the athletes share.

Even though communication is a top priority in these two sports, the atmosphere differs when playing each sport. Both sports are very fast-paced, but according to Nunley, volleyball isn’t as intense because there’s less area to cover in volleyball due to the smaller court size compared to a lacrosse field. 

Just like volleyball and lacrosse, football and baseball also require good communication between the players. Jayden Perkins is a sophomore who plays both baseball and football. Baseball begins in late April while football starts in August. Perkins plays as a catcher in baseball and as a defensive end in football. 

The gear that he uses as a catcher in baseball is very different compared to the gear he uses in football. “For the helmets, it has the same shape that goes around your head. Football has a face mask and a forehead shoot, baseball, on the other hand, the helmet has your face exposed,” said Perkins. “The pads for football are more meant for high impact because it’s what you’re going to be experiencing more. Whereas baseball pads, for catchers like myself, are more soft so it can take the impact of the ball flying towards you.”

For both sports, players must be physically fit in order to play well. Both sports require athletes to be in shape but in different ways. For football players, they must train in the strength area. Baseball players, on the other hand, need to focus their training on the speed and endurance area. 

Sophomore Jayden Perkins enjoys the sportsmanship that both baseball and football have to offer.

Since football is a popular sport throughout the nation, it contains a lot of value at the high school level. “We have a lot of hatred for other schools, so we’re really competitive. We try to always beat them out and be the top dog,” said Perkins. “Baseball is pretty competitive but it’s not as competitive as football.” 

Even though football gets a lot more attention than baseball, Perkins doesn’t have an all-time favorite sport. “I’m not really more passionate about any sport. When it’s baseball season, I love baseball. When it’s football season, I focus on football,” said Perkins. 

Playing multiple sports can be challenging because athletes aren’t sure which sport needs more attention. For different athletes, this is decided by either their passion for that certain sport or just because that sport is in season. All sports are unique and athletes who play multiple sports are able to see the different benefits that each sport provides. Playing multiple sports trains the athletes to be able to adapt quickly in the environment that they are in. Because athletes are able to adapt quickly, they are more prone to play well in the sports that they participate in. Obtaining these skills aren’t only beneficial to the sports community, but it’s good to have them in general.