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Should living in the dark be part of being a beaver?

Claire Moriarty, Opinions Editor
Originally published November 23, 2016

Ana MarbettVarsity girls' soccer team prepares for early evening game against Nathan Hale.

Ana Marbett

Varsity girls’ soccer team prepares for early evening game against Nathan Hale.

It’s obvious why Seattle Public Schools voted to push school start and end times forward an hour this year. The new bell schedule pertains to a teenager’s natural body clock, because, as we all probably know, it can be difficult to fall asleep before 11 p.m.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night. The new start time was set in place in an effort to make it easier for students to get the rest they need.

But how much thought has been given to the adverse effects the later start and end times have on some of us?

Mornings thus far have been much less painful than they were last year. They’re more relaxed. The occasional mad dash to the car with shoes untied still occurs, but there’s definitely less of a sense of urgency in the race to beat the bell.

It is almost disorienting, waking up to the feeling of having actually gotten enough sleep the night before. This is because, for many students, even now, it happens so rarely.

The new schedule may have come as a less than welcome change for students with time-consuming after school activities, especially athletes.

Dedicated participants in school athletics practice five to six days a week for two hours, discounting game days. That’s an added two hours into the afternoon of a student-athlete (or morning, if you’re a swimmer), which puts them at home and doing homework later, which puts them in bed–you guessed it–later.

The new schedule also hangs new responsibilities on the parents of some student-athletes, due to the lack of available transportation to away games. The school is unable to provide buses to games, because district buses would only be able to pick students up at 1 p.m. So, instead of missing several class periods, athletes have to secure their own rides. For parents who work, this proves exhausting and inconvenient.

“It’s definitely been an interesting situation for all of the athletic teams,” Varsity soccer coach Meghan Miller said. Interesting is one word for it.

Soccer and football both practice on the field every day. Since Ballard’s field becomes a public park at 7 p.m., there is a shorter window of time in which to finish practices. Because of this, these two programs have to share the field for a half hour a day, because soccer practices from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and football practices from 5 to 7 p.m., with the exception of Wednesdays, when this schedule flips and soccer plays later.

The field is not lit. What will they do when Daylight Savings comes around? Since we’ll be inside the building from when it’s dark in the morning to when it’s starting to get dark again, perhaps everyone should start taking Vitamin D supplements.

“It’s kind of been a game of musical chairs,” Miller said. “I think everyone’s doing the best they can with what we have and everyone is working hard and we just kind of put a smile on our face and deal with it because we don’t really have another choice. That’s just part of what it is to be a Beaver.”

The words ring true, especially right now. Adjusting to change takes grit, just like playing sports, but there’s no reason why we can’t handle it.

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Should living in the dark be part of being a beaver?