Final season stress


Meghan McGowan

Senior Oanh Le lunges towards the birdie ready to send it back to her opponent. Badminton won the past five years so there is added stress for seniors this year hoping to earn another state title.

The desired “senior season” creeps up on athletes as they go through their high school years. Since there is a stigma around being a senior there are several pressures that come with it.  As a senior volleyball player, I feel the effects of this pressure while entering my final season. 

As a senior we are expected to be the best in the program. Not only setting examples through our skills, but also playing a big part in demonstrating the proper character needed for the program. This stress comes from knowing that every move you make is watched by a younger player. “It’s tough because I have to lead all of the underclassmen in weights and conjoined practices, especially when I know I have younger freshmen who look up to me,” senior football player Aiden Herring explains. 

Not only are we expected to set good examples with our character, our skill is supposed to be the best since we have the extra years of experience. It is assumed that the seniors are typically the best on the team. “ I feel like I have to uphold a certain standard to lead my team and I feel pressure to drop my times exponentially,” says senior cross country runner Bella Schaller. This feeling is mutual between all seniors in sports because of the pressure from the standards that are set onto seniors.

I have played volleyball since I was eight years old. I started attending Perry volleyball camps when I was 12 years old. Before I began playing in high school, I would look up to the older girls who played,and I idolized them, especially the seniors. This trend continued even when I entered highschool because I was always in awe of how good they were. 

Now I am that senior. This thought is confusing to me, because it feels like yesterday that I was looking up to the class of 2020. Although senior year offers tons of exciting things like senior night, senior banners, and signing days, there is a stigma surrounding it that raises levels of pressure.

While high school season is a big factor, the worry of college around the corner heightens the levels of stress in my senior year. Typically the recruitment process begins junior year and ends senior year. The choice of whether or not to continue playing in college has been one of the hardest decisions for me to make. The worry of a burn out is always prevalent but I also do not know life without volleyball. Also the recruitment process requires a lot of time and effort. 

Although there is this element of stress, it should not depict the outcome of the season. I plan to work past these mental pressures so I am able to enjoy my final season.