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Meghan McVaigh is a sixth-grader at Ballston Spa Middle School

Kids shouldn't have games on weeknights

Friday, May 11, 2012
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Meghan McVaigh
Photographer: Marc Schultz
Meghan McVaigh

Have you ever come home late from a sport on a weeknight and felt tired and unfocused the next morning? I've heard many people say they love playing sports but it's making it hard to learn in school. You may think it has to stay that way; however, that is not true. Just stop having games on weeknights.

Late games cause sleepiness , which then leads to acidents. Accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in America. Accidents include falling or crashing into things. This may sound harmless, but if you fall on hard concrete or crash into something behind the wheel of a car, you can cause a serious injury to yourself and other people as well.

The National Consumer League says, "About 70-80 percent of high school students have part-time jobs." More jobs mean more accidents, especially if you are tired.

Dr. Mary Caskadon of the National Sleep Foundation says, "Kids are too sleepy to learn well, they are too sleepy to be happy and they are at great risk for things such as traffic accidents."

Kids are tired, and they want to continue doing sports with as much energy as possible; therefore, some resort to stimulants. Stimulants such as caffeinated beverages are usually what are used. Although many people use it, caffeine is a drug. That means it is possible for kids to get addicted to it, and at such a young age, it is possible for caffeine to interfere with a child's growth. Caffeine does indeed give you more energy, but studies show it is not the healthiest kind of energy that should be used for exercise. Sleeping is the very best way to get energy that should be used for exercise. Sleeping is the very best way to get energy for almost anything. If a kid goes to a sports practice and brings a caffeinated beverage, they would not be using a way to get energy that is healthy for their body.

Some people may not realize it, but caffeinated beverages are all around us, including popular sodas such as Coke, Pepsi and Mountain Dew, plus there are tons of other energy drink brands. Drinks like these make children jittery and irritable. In addition, they also make it even harder to sleep at night when kids get home from whatever sporting event they were attending.

Late-night games can affect your ability to learn along with your memory of things you have learned. First of all, when you get home after a long game, you have to do homework, which could take anywhere from minutes to hours. Doing homework after such a long night makes you stay up even longer. If kids are coming home that late from a place where they were just running around, they won't be able to do their homework to the best of their ability because they will be tired and they just want to get it over with. And secondly, the next day, those kids have to get up really early in the morning and go to school. While at school, the children will be so tired that chances are they won't be able to recall any of what they learned that day. When you're tired, it is also very difficult to focus. At practice the next day, they won't even be able to preform their best because being tired also affects speed and endurance.

Kids should be worrying about school instead of sports. Some might say that children need playing time in order to be fit and healthy, but I say that they should get the playing they need but put it on a day when they can do it without it interfering with important things like sleep and schoolwork. On top of that, kids won't be healthy if they continue to lose so much sleep. Studies show that lack of sleep can mess up people's immune system and their ability to fight off diseases, colds and infections. What is the point of playing when you are too tired to do your best?

These weeknight games should be moved to a weekend day. It would be much better that way, and there are almost no reasons why this shouldn't be changed. There should be no more games on weeknights.

 
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