I’m a firm believer that practice, as the old expression goes, makes perfect.
But I also believe, just as firmly, that too much practice leads to burnout.
That said, the proposal made by Logan-Hocking School District Superintendent Monte Bainter for nearly two weeks of summer athletic “downtime” that was approved by the Board of Education last month was a spot-on idea.
As reported here in The Logan Daily News, Bainter first proposed the idea to the BOE in March, suggesting such “downtime” would allow families to spend some summer time together without having to worry about athletic-related obligations.
“Downtime” for LHS athletes — no camps, no practices, no weight-room sessions, no meetings, no open gyms, etc. — commenced last Wednesday, June 26, and runs through this Sunday, July 7.
A “downtime” schedule has already been written into next summer’s 2020 calendar.
While this is not a rule set forth by The Ohio High School Athletic Association, it ought to be. It is something that’s gaining traction among more and more school districts — both statewide and nationally — as they see their athletes go from one sport to another, one practice to another and one workout to another without a break.
It’s tough enough doing so during the school year — when you obviously add on academics and long days for student-athletes — without having to maintain that kind of a pace during summer break.
“Just go be a family, just go be a kid,” Bainter said at last month’s BOE meeting as reported here in The Logan Daily News.
I fully agree.
I would like to see the OHSAA put such a rule into place state-wide to where at least anything under its jurisdiction would have a mandatory two-week summer shutdown — basically the last week of June and the first week of July — before beginning to gear up for the fall season.
There was some talk not long ago the OHSAA could move in that direction, but those rumblings have apparently died down. That talk needs to be revived.
Those who follow Logan High School sports know the Chieftains and Lady Chiefs are in a difficult predicament right off the bat: they have no league to play in and, when the post-season comes around, most LHS teams have to play through the athletic meat grinder also known as the Central District. Much more often than not, it’s a no-win situation.
There’s no doubt Logan athletes have to work and prepare extra hard just to have a chance of staying competitive with the Pickeringtons, Hilliards, Olentangys, Westervilles and Dublins of the Central District prep sports world.
Athletes from those (and other Columbus-area) schools already have many more built-in advantages going for them than do our athletes located 50 miles from the state capital.
There are athletic activities that just can’t be avoided, of course — summer/AAU basketball (which I passionately detest in the first place because it does much more harm than good for most prep athletes), American Legion baseball, non-high school camps, state and national tournaments in various sports, and so forth — that fall during that time frame.
But there’s an obvious common thread: they all involve kids, many of whom have interests and lives outside the world of athletics. With it being hard enough to keep kids fully interested in athletics these days anyway, there are times when they need, as Bainter pointed out, to “just go be a kid.”
(By the way, I wrote this column well in advance of today. While my days of being a kid are long gone, I’m off enjoying my own “downtime.” See you next week... maybe.)
While this column is just in reference to athletics, it should be noted that all district school buildings are shut down, including the opportunity center, during this "downtime" no-contact period. Only 12-month employees are working during this time.