The Balancing Act

Varsity Girls Tennis Academic Team Captain Helps Players Schedule Time for Athletics and Academics

By SOPHIA ARVIN | Contributing Writer

Photo courtesy of Sophia Arvin

I am excited about being appointed as the first Academic Team Captain for the Palisades Charter High School varsity girls tennis team.

As a senior and now varsity tennis player for the fourth season, I understand the pressure of performing your best academically and athletically in high school. It’s a challenge to balance.

Last season, I observed that several of my teammates struggled academically in balancing their extensive tennis schedules and other commitments, so I had to step up and contribute to positive change.

As a junior at Pali High, I created and developed a keyboard music program for K-8th grade at St. Anne’s on YouTube and then taught in the classroom for four months, while in season for the varsity tennis team and with rigorous academics.

My commitments continued until June when I was a Girl Scout Gold recipient. I had no excess time—no reduced tennis team practice, changing in the car, teaching young students at St. Anne’s who were excited to have the opportunity to learn music and piano, then back to rigorous studies.

The Pali High girls varsity tennis team has won many city championships and requires a substantial amount of time (including year-round practice/lessons, plus USTA/UTR events to improve your skills), similar to my academics.

My goal was to assist my teammates with my knowledge learned by experiences accumulated over three prior seasons of how to both do well and manage stress. As academic team captain, I have started the girls tennis season with weekly emails to players and their parents, reminding them to stay ahead of the game with their academics.

Planning includes teammates scheduling meetings with teachers, study groups, study center and being forthright to the coach if they need to leave early to catch up on their academics due matches or tournaments (or not skip a class that is difficult to make-up). My role is to be a liaison between Coach Kling, Dr. Magee, Russel Howard and my teammates.

The “Academic Team Captain” concept was presented to Pali High Executive Director/Principal Dr. Magee and Director of Student Activities/Athletics Russel Howard this summer. I was very pleased that they embraced the concept in a pilot program for the academic year and how supportive they have been. My role was announced the first day of practice this season to the team and parents.

I have received positive and supportive feedback from the team and parents. The objective is for all of us learning to work together with a great objective, which is well stated by the Pali High Mission Statement: “The mission of the athletic program at Palisades Charter High School is to develop the student-athlete academically, physically, emotionally and socially by pursuing athletic excellence within a values-based sports program which is dedicated to the ideals of Pursuing Victory with Honor.”

I am hoping to encourage other sports at Pali to continue in my footsteps. My twin brother, Eagle Scout Nicholas Arvin (from Troop 223), is the academic tennis team captain for this academic year. With this spring season Nicholas will have been on the boys varsity tennis team for four years. We are hoping to share our model with other schools, including Paul Revere Charter Middle School, our former middle school, and other high schools.