While being on sports teams during high school, I have come to find out that most young athletes are always in a bad mood. Don’t get me wrong, the real purpose of a sport is to have fun, but as we all know, winning is the true goal. To win means to take the time, dedication, and willpower to come out on top, meaning that one has to sacrifice their comfort (and their bodies) for the sake of the team. There is always a reason surrounding why an athlete sits to themselves or seems a little more agitated than usual. Just by glancing at another athlete, I can usually pinpoint the reason concerning his or her madness, because I probably experienced the same thing days before. The following reasons are most common as to why an athlete is grouchy:
The athlete is sore: This is the number one reason in my opinion as to why athletes stay upset on a daily basis. No matter what the sport is, an athlete is bound to stretch his or her muscles beyond the limit and feel the aftermath the next day. Who likes to walk around hurting all the time? Not only that, but one does not get days off for being sore; they must suck it up and fight through the pain.
Hard practice ahead: Coaches like to warn their athletes when an extremely difficult practice is coming up in order to mentally and physically prepare them. Honestly, when I am told that I am about to struggle during workouts the next day, all I do is mope around and pray for a snow storm to form in the middle of the summer. Just knowing that one’s limits are about to be pushed can frustrate anyone, especially for an athlete. A hard practice means being more pained and physically tired than usual, which are pretty legitimate reasons as to why an athlete snaps.
Last competition did not go as planned: I know that all athletes can relate to the week that all joy is gone due to a terrible game loss. Everyone is disappointed in how the game ended and the only thing that anyone can talk about is how the plays went wrong or how the referee did not do his or her job that night. When people ask you what’s wrong, you quietly mumble what happened and then pretend to focus on what the teacher is saying to avoid anymore conversation. These actions are normal and show that an athlete does care about his or her sport.
Late nights: Depending on the sport, an athlete might not tend to his or her homework until after practice, which could be anywhere from 6 to 9 at night. One must take into consideration that on those nights, an athlete will be hungry and dirty — both on top of studying. Late nights also mean less sleep, and for athletes, sleep is extremely crucial as to how they will perform the next day both physically and mentally.
I don’t know about anyone else, but personally, these are the main reasons as to why I was grumpy throughout the years as an athlete. There is no “set way” as to how athletes respond to stress, but the stressors tend to be the same in nature for every sport. If you know an athlete who is constantly on edge, give them space! It’s nothing personal, high school athletics are just tough in general. It just takes a while to accept it.