Many students participate in sports inside and outside of school. It is mandatory to keep up with school along with that sport. This can be very time-consuming, and requires commitment, patience, time, strength, faith, and an overall positive attitude.
Holy Trinity freshman Alya Dzheneva has been playing competitive tennis since she was three years old. “I have tennis six days of the week,” said Dzheneva. “My day is very packed and can be difficult sometimes because I never know how long my training will last that day.”
Since Dzheneva sometimes does not know when her training will end, it can shorten her amount of time to complete homework or study every night. About two to three hours is spent by Dzheneva every night doing homework. “My hardest class this year is Biology Honors.” She is also taking AP Human Geography this year.
Sometimes, a student-athlete needs to choose between their sport’s practice or school work.
“If I have a big test I will still go to practice, but I will know that when I get home I need to finish up other things quicker, to leave time to study and focus on the test,” said Dzheneva.
Student athletes have a variety of sports they can choose to play. “I chose tennis because I like the mental side of it and I prefer individual sports. It gives me a more flexible training schedule and allows me to focus on myself,” says Dzheneva. “My favorite part is meeting new people all the time at tournaments or at camps.”
In this year of 2020, the coronavirus has affected almost everyone and everything in the world. This includes most athletes. “It has not affected my daily training because I am able to keep physical distance with coaches and players, but it has affected my tournament schedule,” Dzheneva said. The virus continues to be an issue for sports, including tennis.
Most student athletes draw inspiration from those players in their sport who make it to the professional level.
“I personally think that Coco Gauff and Bianca Andreescu are inspirational tennis players to me because they are very young but have been extremely successful in their career so far,” Dzheneva said. “Tennis is something that I want to play for the rest of my life, but my first goal is to play D1 in college. From there I will see where it can take me and how far I can go.”
She has shed blood, sweat, and tears to get to where she is now, and will not be giving up on it anytime soon. The choice between sports and academics is asked frequently.
“This is a hard question because I have been thinking about this for a while. I really can’t pick one because in every person’s life there will be people trying to convince you of one or the other and I say not to focus on these people and do whatever you enjoy for yourself because experience is different for everyone. Personally, to answer this question I will say both because it’s the way that I balance things for myself that matters in the end.”
One of Dzheneva’s favorite quotes is from John McEnroe: “I’ll let the racket do the talking.” In the long run, between sports or academics, Dzheneva says, “I would choose academics first because you can’t go anywhere in life without a good education even if it is with sports.”
As far as competitive levels go Dzheneva says, “I play tennis and travel year round for tournaments, but also play for the school during the season in spring.” She adds that her practices are usually two hours long, but can go on longer if needed by the coach.
Over the years, Dzheneva has learned many things about balancing tennis and academics, and continues to learn more about them. If there is one thing that she would like to add to all of this, it would be to “trust the process.”