Is Sportsnite Worth the Sacrifice?

Jenna Miller, Editor in Chief

Sportsnite is one of Wantagh High School’s richest traditions, having been observed annually for 64 years. Sportsnite came about during a time when girls were not allowed to participate in school sports. Though times have changed the tradition still remains intact as it is a part of the school’s heritage — and girls get excited as the Blackies and the Goldies face off in cage ball, relay races, tug-of-war, volleyball, and of course the iconic cheering, singing and dancing competition. But is the hype over Sportsnite too much?

As a freshman I did Sportsnite. That was the only year I participated. I remember a teammate saying, “Sportsnite is one of the most exciting experiences of your years as a girl here at Wantagh High School. You don’t have to participate in the sports. As long as you’re good at singing, dancing, and showing your school spirit, you can join in.”

It sounded like something very appealing and exciting to me. I signed up to only do my grade’s dance, and the first few meetings went smoothly. I found myself getting very engaged in the fun, lively cheers. They improved my mood and gave me a boost of energy.

But as the Sportsnite season continued on, that excitement died down. I was told I could do the Sportsnite dances even if I didn’t dance well, yet the dance steps I had to learn were complex and took endless practices in order to perfect. Even on the day before the big night, I still felt like I hadn’t got the dance moves down 100%.

Practices were mandatory. They continued long into the cold winter nights. I brought my books but it was too loud to concentrate on my work when it wasn’t time to dance. Even in the hall, the music, shouts, clapping, and stomping of feet could be heard, affecting my ability to think straight. There were even practices on weekends. 

My grades began to suffer because I arrived home from Sportsnite practices too late or too tuckered out to even study.  

If I were in charge of Sportsnite, I would make it far less “mandatory,” shorten practices, and simplify the dances to ensure a more fun and less stressful experience. After all, isn’t that what Sportsnite is all about? Fun and school spirit, not stress?

To me, Sportsnite is a matter of getting one’s priorities straight and raising the bar of your expectations. I am a person who values my studies greatly. I work as hard as I can and always desire adequate studying time every night, as I aim to get the best grades I can.

The way Sportsnite was described to me at first made it seem like it would be just a side-hobby, something fun to do on free nights. I did not expect anything like what I experienced — something that put my grades on the line, something that seemed to pressure me to make it my priority over my studies, clubs, and free time, something that felt far too draining physically and mentally for what it is.