Varsity Sports & Senior Athletes

Cheerleaders celebrate the final football game of the 2018-2019 season.

Cheerleaders celebrate the final football game of the 2018-2019 season.

Leilani Fu'Qua, Staff Writer

Senior year is full of amazing moments: graduation pictures, spirit rallies, and for many senior athletes, their last varsity game, match, or competition. Competing at the varsity level is not easy, but often times varsity teams are created with “senior privilege,” meaning all seniors are guaranteed spots on the varsity team. While there are some bonuses to creating teams based on “senior privilege,” there are many conflicts that come with a majority upperclassmen roster.

Varsity teams with a majority of senior athletes allows all seniors to enjoy their senior year competing against athletes in their grade and age level. Since all of the athletes are in the same grade, a sense of class unity is established. The goal starts at, “Let’s win this game!” to “Let’s win this game for the class of 2019!” It’s easy to understand that a divided team will not work very well together, so keeping seniors together and with their closest peers can have tremendous benefits for the team. Teams created with “senior privilege” also ensure that no senior is left behind, and all seniors can enjoy their final game together. Senior Ontario High School track and field athlete Enrique Estrada said, “If a sophomore made varsity and took my spot on the team, I would be upset, but it would be my own fault for not striving to be better than them.” Senior athletes are usually more experienced and more talented than younger athletes with less experience, so creating teams where seniors are guaranteed spots can be beneficial to the team’s record. Seniors are also leaders on many teams, so having a team full of good role models can be inspirational to junior-varsity athletes. Teams with “senior privilege” do not entirely exclude other grade levels from being on the varsity team, and often can encourage talented underclassman to work harder to make the varsity team.

Senior-based teams can contribute to amazing high school memories, but there is a large bias that can create controversy on highly competitive teams. If a senior has less talent, experience, or work ethic than an underclassman athlete and they are automatically guaranteed a varsity spot, it jeopardizes the team’s chance of building competitive, driven athletes and winning. Once something becomes too easy, it becomes uninteresting. By allowing all grade levels the opportunity to play on varsity, the challenge of competing against bigger and older athletes keeps the craft intriguing. Ontario High School varsity cheerleader, Galia Arana, believes that no one’s spot should be secured based on their grade. “Freshmen shouldn’t be forced to play on freshmen teams because not all freshman play at that level, a few might have the talent of a junior-varsity or varsity athlete,” the junior athlete said. “Putting someone on a team just because of their grade level is unfair because you’re ignoring their talent and prohibiting them from showing it at that caliber,” Arana told us. Allowing student-athletes to try out for their spot is a more equal system, and encourages everyone to try their hardest for the position they desire. For coaches, the diversity of both younger and older athletes allows all athletes to expand their skills in a competitive atmosphere. French football manager of Arsenal F.C., Arsene Wenger said, “At a young age, winning is not the most important thing…the important thing is to develop creative and skilled players with good confidence.” Players of all ages should work towards their placement on a varsity team to encourage all athletes to strive to attain and keep their spot on a varsity team.