The Life of Swing Players at WHS

Julia Lawlor and Casey Friedman, Opinion editor and Feature editor

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As students progress through their athletic careers at WHS, more students have received the opportunity to play on both the varsity and junior varsity athletic teams. This is known as being a swing player, and these athletes have become assets to their sports teams. 

“Simply put, a swing player is a member of a varsity team who practices exclusively with varsity and typically gets game experience by competing in games at the JV level,” varsity field hockey coach Kim Desto said. “When an athlete demonstrates raw talent and potential, [they] will develop and progress significantly from being surrounded by high level talent and skill.” 

However, this experience is not the same for every sport or team. Some students start in between teams, whereas others move up or switch around mid-season.

“My experience of being a swing player last year was slightly different than the typical experience. I started the swim season on group two [JV], but then got moved up to group one [varsity] for the rest of the season,” sophomore Thalia Papageorgiou stated.

 While these in-between team experiences may affect a student’s playing time, they can also affect a student’s emotional state and team spirit.

“It felt like I was never really a part of a team. I was stuck in between both, not feeling like I belonged to one or the other,” junior Christos Iatridis said.

Feeling caught between teams can also lead to some uncertainty about a player’s status on the team.

“I wasn’t a very big fan of being a swing player. You don’t really have an identity on the team and it’s hard to know your place,” Murphy said.

While playing on any high school sports team can be a time commitment, swing players often have to put in double the amount of time as players on JV or varsity.

“Game days were tough on my free time and time for homework, especially away games. I would leave with the JV team early dismissal [and] I would miss that part of the class,” Iatridis said. “Then 9 times out of 10 I would end up only watching the entire varsity game.” 

Despite the big time commitment, identity issues, and low playing time for some swing players, sophomore Reed Van Ogtrop commented on the positive aspects of being a swing player.

“I really liked it because I got to practice with varsity, and I got to go to all the varsity events, and got a varsity letter,” Van Ogtrop said. “At the same time, I still got to play in both team’s games and it made me a lot better.” 

While the experience of being a swing is not always easy, Desto explained that there is a beneficial outcome to this role

Having swing players allows these athletes to reap the benefits of hard work at practice, while still guaranteeing playing time.”