Freshmen take on varsity fall sports

Tikloh Bruno-Basaing

As the school year starts up, the fall sports teams get a clean slate for their seasons. The varsity teams have said goodbye to last year’s senior players and are now warming up to new recruits, including several freshmen.

Playing at the varsity level of high school athletics comes with a lot of pressure and requires a certain level of skill and commitment, which can be nerve-wracking––especially during pre-season and tryouts before the school year has started.

“I was nervous that I wouldn’t make the team… but I didn’t know if I would actually want to play varsity if I made it, just because I was nervous about playing with the older kids, and nervous that I would mess up, or not get playing time,” said Pascual Martinez (‘21),  freshman member of the boys varsity soccer team.

Sports teams allow players to meet new people, especially when entering an entirely new school and environment with unfamiliar faces.

“I made a lot of friends on the team and it’s cool because I have friends from other grades, not just my own grade.” said Emily Huang, who is the only freshman on the girls varsity volleyball team.

However, the social dynamic on varsity teams can be more intimidating because of the pre-existing relationships from years previous. “In your first year as a freshman, you still have to gain your spot on the team with everyone else so you try [to get] everyone to respect you. Even though you are on the team and good enough, you can’t just be on the team and be by yourself. You have to be part of the people that are there too,” said Martinez on fitting into the social scene of a varsity sports team.

“I have friends who are sophomores who are my doubles partners,” says Sydney Riemer (‘21), freshman on the girls varsity tennis team, “it helped at the beginning because I didn’t know anyone when I came [to Urban] so it helped me make friends,” she continued.

Being a freshman on varsity allows you to meet upperclassmen, but there is also a more noticeable divide between the freshman on varsity and those on JV.

“In a way it’s a good for my social life because people are like ‘Oh woah. He’s on varsity!’ and people have respect for you. On the other hand, a lot of my friends are on [Junior Varsity] and it’s cool to be on the same team as your friends,” said Martinez about the social situation outside of the team, “I made the sacrifice to improve rather than be with my friends for practice,” he continued.

When playing a varsity sport, the stakes are a lot higher than a frosh or junior varsity team with playoffs and a championship title on the line. This pressure fuels the team to try harder and to get better and can be a new feeling for freshmen.

“I like playing with older players because they push me to do my best, I really like that. I like the competition and competitiveness of others like they make you better,” said Huang. “I went to practice with [Junior Varsity] but I definitely didn’t like it as much because it wasn’t as competitive so it wasn’t as fun,” she continues.

Just in the short times I’ve been on varsity I’ve already improved,” Martinez said.

Martinez, Huang, and Riemer’s athletic skills have allowed them to improve as athletes on the varsity level and expand their social life in high school, regardless of expectations of high school varsity sports.

“I expected a lot of things but none of them really turned out to be true,” said Martinez.