The challenges underclassmen playing varsity sports meet

While rare to happen, it’s not unheard of to see freshmen and sophomores on the boys’ varsity teams although is much more common to see sophomores. When coaches pull up freshmen or sophomores to varsity, they are pulling key players from junior varsity year and freshmen teams. The result can be controversial, and this may also deduct in minutes on the court for upperclassmen varsity players. The person in front of them may have played on the team the year before but maybe not. For some seasoned players, that’s a problem.

Freshmen and sophomores  boys have a greater chance on varsity teams than freshmen and sophomores on girls teams. This year the varsity girls’ team has only seniors and juniors. Many small schools don’t even have junior varsity girls’ teams and only a very few have freshmen teams. It is varsity or bust for ninth graders at some small schools.    

In many sports, varsity competition is much faster and rougher than freshmen or junior varsity competition. In basketball some young players are talented and skilled enough to handle the jump easily, but majority are not. It is great to win with freshmen and JV teams, but winning records on those levels aren’t viewed the same as winning records on the varsity level.

That all said, I think most agree with me: You build from the top down, meaning the best players should be on the varsity regardless of their age or class standing. No matter if you’re on a girls’ or boys’ team, the idea is that varsity is top dog and the freshmen and junior varsity teams are where players learn and earn their positions on the top team.

There are those who believe that no freshman or sophomore should be on the varsity unless they are going to start or at least play a lot. And another side says  that young players learn a lot by practicing every day with the better competition on team.

The newest sophomore who recently made varsity is Cable Talor. He said it took a lot of hard work and dedication to make it to varsity.

 “In the gym, I spent hours crafting my game to be able to play at the varsity level,” Taylor said. “I worked in the weight room as well. I know varsity is a rough and very physical level so I had to gain muscle as well.”

Taylor said one of his biggest fear about being on the varsity basketball was the try outs.

“My fear is going in tryouts giving my all and not making the varsity team because I worked so hard for this moment of my high school career,” Taylor said.  

But the best way to learn is by playing in real competition. Then  it is best to leave younger players with their teammates on lower level teams if they aren’t going to play on varsity. The idea is to let the players learn, grow and hopefully win on the freshmen and junior varsity levels. The thinking is that the players will learn to play together and build a winning attitude together.

Staying motivated is key for all players, but the focus is the win.

“If you want it, you will find away to go get it. You have to strive everyday to make your dream into a reality,” Taylor said. “You are your biggest opponent. I got up everyday to practice my game.”

His success in varsity sports has transferred to other aspects of Taylor’s life.

“My goal in life is to make the best of it depending on my career,” Taylor said. “I want to work as hard as I can until it over, and I don’t want any regrets in life.”



ravelle johnson

ravelle johnson

My name is Ravelle Johnson, I went to Albion Public Schools until 7th grade.  After Albion Public Schools was shut down, I  transferred to Marshall Middle School. I spent my 7th and 8th years there. My mother found a new job in Battle Creek, and we looked around for new schools.  Gull Lake offered the best education system and freshman year, I attended Gull Lake High School.

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