Living in the shadows

Wilson argues the spotlight needs to be on everyone, not just star players

Maddie Bailiff

High school is full of opportunities for students to participate in something they are interested in, and Yutan is no different. From football to band, we have a variety of extracurriculars for students to be a part of. Students who excel in their sports are praised for their skills and dedication. But what no one seems to think about is how it feels to be one of the participants who isn’t the star player.

At many different schools, including Yutan, students are being overlooked because they are considered “average.” It makes them feel as though they aren’t good enough because being “average” doesn’t get you recognition. I think what we all need to realize is that everyone’s best is different. For some teens that could mean starting varsity or making the honor roll. But for others, it could be subbing in for the B team game or getting C’s in their classes. Just because students don’t get the lead role in the musical or get academic achievement awards, we shouldn’t be giving them any less credit for trying their best. 

One of the ways students are overlooked at Yutan is through non-varsity sports. For example, there are many more people in the crowd during the varsity games than there are during JV games. Varsity players get introductions, the National Anthem, cheerleaders and a student section. JV players get none of those things. Having been a JV player in every sport I’ve ever played, I personally understand how it feels to know that the only people who are going to watch me play are my parents. I tried my hardest during every game, but I still felt as if my best wasn’t good enough. After the JV game would end and I would suit up for varsity, I could see from the sidelines just how much the crowd seemed to care about the varsity players. While I understand that varsity players have better skills than the players on JV, it can still feel as if you don’t matter as much as the star players. I think that as a school, we should start supporting everyone who plays, regardless of whether or not they start varsity. 

Another way students are overlooked is in non-sport extracurriculars. Our school is very sport-oriented, so we don’t do a good enough job of supporting the students who participate in things such as band, choir, art, one-act, speech, the musical and journalism. Students who participate in these activities practice all week just like athletes do, but when the time comes for them to perform, they see more empty seats than filled ones. I participate in many of these activities myself, including one-act, speech, the musical and the all-school play. In every performance that I have ever been a part of, I have rarely seen members of the student body or staff come to watch. We work just as hard as any other extracurricular, but it seems that it isn’t enough to get people to come watch our performances. Varsity athletes can always count on our school and community to pack the stands, but unfortunately, members of activities other than sports cannot say the same. I think it’s time to show our students that just because they aren’t playing a sport, they are still worthy of our time. 

In every performance that I have ever been a part of, I have rarely seen members of the student body or staff come to watch.

All throughout our school, you can find students trying their hardest to do what they love. Whether it be sports or activities, the students at Yutan have shown that they put their utmost effort into whatever they choose to be a part of. But unfortunately, we have not done enough to recognize these students’ hard work and dedication. I believe that it is time for us as a school and a community to start showing up for the students who spend their free time doing what they enjoy most, no matter if they’re a varsity athlete or not. If we can spend hours upon hours working out butts off to be the best we can possibly be, why can’t the members of the school and community come watch? So all I ask that you do is go and support all of the members of the sports teams and extracurriculars because whether you realize it or not, that one extra-filled seat can really make a difference.