Sophomore Juggles Two Fall Sports


Evan Borszem, Staff Writer

With post-season kicking off this week for many fall sports, athletes have been preparing for sectionals. Practices are more focused, pressure is mounting, and each game could be the last. However, for sophomore Griffin Hennessy, sectional week has added pressure as he prepares to play Roncalli in Center Grove’s opening round of soccer sectionals tonight, as well as running in the cross country sectional meet on Saturday morning. Balancing school and two sports is a hard but rewarding battle. Hennessy, a varsity runner on the cross country team and a varsity soccer player, knows this ever-present struggle like the back of his own hand.
Playing soccer since he was four and running for cross country since he was a freshman, Hennessy recollects on how his middle school gym teacher recommended to him to join the track team after performing exceptionally well on the timed mile run.
“I didn’t know if I was going to be good at [running] until we did the gym mile in middle school and I did really well on that and then my gym teacher told me I should try track,” Hennessy said. “And then I wasn’t really liking it, but then my mom told me ‘give it some more time’ and then I ended up liking it a lot, and that’s why I continue to do track and cross country.”
However, being in two fall sports, especially two that coincide with each other often, is difficult and requires a great amount of communication with coaches. Thankfully, Hennessy is given accommodations to support his endeavours. Being in two sports causes Hennessy to have to find a balance, even when he feels tired and drained physically.
“I think probably the worst time that it has crowded was during the summer where… one [week] I had cross country practice every single day and then I had soccer tryouts and I had to walk from cross country to soccer,” Hennessy said. “And that was probably the worst week for sure.”
Juggling cross country and soccer can be exhausting, but for Hennessy, routine has been essential. On Mondays, Hennessy goes to his soccer practice. Tuesdays and Thursdays are typically game days for soccer, so if it is a home game, Hennessy has time to practice with the cross country team before the game. On Wednesdays, he goes to cross country practice, and on Fridays, he goes to soccer practice. And Saturday is both a meet day and a game day. With a practice schedule like this, there is immense pressure.
“In cross country, “ Hennessy starts, “we do a three or four mile tempo with a fast mile at the end, and then we’ll do hill sprints and strides… that’s definitely the worst practice.”
With so much time spent on practices, games, and meets, it seems there is very little time to do actual schoolwork. However, Hennessy finds a way, working on homework in his little free time on bus rides to meets.
“Normally I will come home and just try to knock it all out real quick and then, if I can’t do that, I’ll try to do most of my homework and then I’ll just eat dinner and then I’ll just either do the rest before school starts the next day or stay up a bit later to do it,” Hennessy said. “On a game and a practice day, I’ll have to bring my homework on the bus and do it on the bus.”
Although finding a perfect balance between two fall sports is hard, especially with schoolwork being tossed into the equation, there are plenty of benefits.
“I think my favorite thing is probably getting to know a lot of people,” Hennessy said. “I just know so many people in my grade from doing both sports. It’s pretty cool. My least favorite thing is definitely the time crunch and not really having enough time to do stuff.”
However, unless one is confident, Hennessy carefully advises against tackling two sports at once. However, he still suggests that everyone should do at least one sport because of how it creates relationships and bonds that can last a lifetime.
“I don’t know if I’d recommend trying to do two sports at once if you’re starting off. I’d recommend doing one year and figure out if you’re going to be able to do two,” Hennessy said. “And I would definitely recommend doing sports for anybody. I think it’s a really good way to get involved in school. It automatically creates a lot of relationships with other people.”