Pros and Cons of Preseason

Rekha Morgan, Reporter


Madison Cornwell
Girls practice field hockey during preseason.

All sports have a preseason, but the fall’s infamous one has always been a topic of discussion. The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) requires that each student attend fourteen practices before competing in any athletic event. In order to meet these requirements, the majority of fall sports at Burroughs began their preseason on July 31st. Many students and parents question the early start and want to know the advantages and disadvantages of such a preseason.

Preseason is not enjoyed by everyone, but there are still benefits to practicing before school begins. Summer is long, and it becomes boring trying to choose which summer reading book to read. Sports can provide a remedy to this boredom. Fall preseason brings classmates and friends back together, allowing students to socialize before the school year starts.

The lengthy preseason also offers the chance to come together as a team and to improve skills. For freshman, it’s their first opportunity to play with and compete against upperclassmen, and for upperclassmen, it’s their chance to step into leadership roles and, as Austin Isaak ‘20 jokes, to “beat up on freshmen” on the playing fields. Just to note, even though Austin looks like a freshmen don’t “beat up” on him. Joking aside, the longer preseason allows for coaches to fairly divide up teams and for those teams to bond and develop chemistry inside and outside of competition.

Another advantage of preseason is that it prepares students for waking up early, depending on what sport they play. For example, field hockey practices are from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and football practices from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. These early practices give students a chance to return to their routine before school starts.
While there are advantages to fall preseason, there are also disadvantages. Cutting summer short is never fun, and the Burroughs fall preseason takes a month out of students’ vacation. Due to these required practices, hanging out by the beach or any other type of vacation spot during August is a no-go.

Many schools, including Burroughs, start fall preseason on July 31st, the first day allowed by MSHSAA. MICDS and Ladue both start their preseasons at the same time as Burroughs, but MICDS and Ladue start classes two weeks earlier. “Despite the illusion of an endless summer, John Burroughs undermines this “free time” with preseason everyday,” says Emma Gillanders ‘18.

Another disadvantage of preseason is the possibility of injury from overuse. Last year, Caroline Strahorn ‘20 broke her ankle in preseason and unfortunately had to miss the majority of the field hockey season. An athlete does not want to miss out on playing the sport they love because of wear and tear from too many practices or an unlucky step late in an already lengthy preseason.

Many Burroughs families dislike having to return a month early for fall preseason, and for those that aren’t happy about the July 31st start, there is hope. Peter Tasker, the athletic director at Burroughs, told The World that a Missouri-wide vote had taken place to push back the fall preseason start date. Practices in 2018 will begin on August 6th and in 2019, preseason will be moved forward to August 12th. In 2020, it will move again to August 10th due to the leap year. These changes will allow the Burroughs Community to extend their summer and relax for a few extra weeks.

Fall preseason brings students together before the school year starts, allows freshmen to get to know their older teammates, prepares students for rising early, gets players back into the groove of playing their sport, allows coaches to assess the team and plan for the season, and fulfills MSHSAA rules. On the other hand, the early start cuts summer vacation short, keeps some players from sleeping in, extends preseason to an entire month, and increases the possibility for injury. For those who love their sports, all of these are worthwhile sacrifices, but, for those who don’t, the negatives can outweigh the benefits. At the end of the day, it is up to us to determine the true value of preseason.