Preseason sports prove to be worth lost summer fun

Junior Brandon Kalika playing for Middletown Souths soccer team.

Courtesy of Brandon Kalika

Junior Brandon Kalika playing for Middletown South’s soccer team.

Emma Wilenta

The last few weeks of summer can be a dreaded time for students. Daunting thoughts of the upcoming school year, school supply shopping and cramming summer reading can consume the last few weeks of summertime.

But for some, the tail-end of summer before a new school year are occupied with other commitments: preseason sports.

According to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), high school fall sports could officially hold official practices starting on Aug. 15, 2016.

Many teams choose to practice in the mornings, while others hold practice at night. Some teams even offer ‘doubles’, or practices held at both morning and night.

Junior Alice Nathanson of Long Branch plays field hockey for Long Branch High School, and her team practices Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Nathanson appreciates the consistency of her practices and said the only challenges were adjusting her work schedule accordingly and sometimes changing her nighttime plans.

“Preseason doesn’t affect my summer plans too much because I’m done with practices by 9:30, but it does prevent me from staying out too late some nights because of early mornings,” Nathanson said.

Some view the frequent summer practices as a major time commitment, but for athletes with a passion, like sophomore Kiera Gill of Wall, it is all worth it. Gill plays field hockey for Wall High School, and this season will be her fifth year playing the sport. She said her love of the game makes it so easy to spend time practicing during the summer.

“For me, I’m not giving up anything to play my sport because I love playing field hockey.”

Like Gill, junior Brandon Kalika of Middletown has a passion for his sport. As a soccer player for Middletown South High School, Kalika spends around 15 hours a week practicing with his team, but he has no problem devoting his summer to preseason.

“I love playing soccer,” Kalika said. “It makes me feel like I’m part of something special.”