Devin Young, student athlete

Devin Young (Courtesy of the UMF Athletics website).

By Jamie McKay, Staff Writer

With spring sports season upon us, the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) student athletes start to feel the pressure as a result of the hectic schedules causing them to miss classes.

   An extended winter this year caused the scheduling of spring sports to be delayed.

     “Most spring sports start their season with fall ball. Preseason tends to start from the middle to end of February,” said Michelle Cote, a sophomore at UMF and second year softball player, “The real season starts in March and goes until the week before finals.”

   It is known that spring sports have shorter seasons than fall and winter sports, as they have to wait for the snow to melt, weather to warm, and the fields to be in playable condition.

   Devin Young, a junior at UMF, played baseball his freshman and sophomore years of college. He noted the difficulties a shorter season poses on school. “For me I think it would be easier if the season started earlier. I know it’s not feasible for how cold it gets and because of the snow on the fields,” said Young.

   Spring 2013 has brought about an extra hectic schedule for the softball team at UMF, as a result of rescheduled games. “In the past two weeks we have played [games] Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday!” said Cote, “Basically, [we have played] 24 games in 2 weeks.”

   Students learn and benefit the most when they are in the classroom. However, student athletes have to depend on their homework and texts to teach the material when they can’t be in class.

   “Last year I probably missed around 15 classes between games and practices,” said Shane Waters, a sophomore at UMF.

   Waters played baseball his freshman year of college, but took this year off. Missing school took such a toll on Waters education that he had to sacrifice his sophomore year of baseball in order to get back on track.

   “I didn’t play this year because I failed a class in the fall and one in the spring last year,” said Waters.

  Likewise, Young’s education suffered from his decision to participate in a collegiate sport. “I was never told how much school I was going to have to miss,” said Young. “That information was not made accessible to me until I started playing and if it had been known, I don’t know if I would have started playing.”

   Cote has been able to maintain her grades while playing softball, but does stress the extreme pressure that she experiences due to her absences from classes. “Even when you do your work it’s not to your fullest potential because you do not have the time,” said Cote, “Education is a hard major and playing softball makes it even harder because you miss classes.”

   Teachers on campus seem understanding towards students’ excessive absences due to spring sports; however, they would prefer to have them in class for notable reasons.

   Dan Seabold, a psychology professor at UMF, has four students who participate in collegiate spring sports, two of whom miss class due to games.

   Seabold notes the added pressure spring sports causes on both teachers and students. “It creates additional tasks for teachers to come up with, extra assignments out of the regular class assignments,” said Seabold, “It is true that they [students] miss out on basic things taught in the classroom.”

   Seabold was confident in his students’ ability to manage sports and school, noting their excellence academically.

   “Sports can be a really valuable way for students to get additional experience in team work and it helps with stress, anxiety and pressure among other things,” said Seabold, “These are things that the students will have to face in the real world.”

   Likewise, UMF students understand and notice the benefits playing a sport can have on their lives, as well as the extra effort that professors put into that student.

“Teachers were pretty understanding,” said Young. “I don’t think they liked it, but they know you are not going to be able to do all of the work to your fullest potential.”