Hot and Dangerous

Fall athletes continue to endure the summer heat

Sweat gleaming from their skin, the 16 players on varsity field hockey shuffled back and forth between the lines. Some sprinted across, quickly ending the energy-sapping exercise, while others jogged back, carefully handling the ball. With over 60 days of 100-degree weather, the unwavering heat Dallas experienced this summer is affecting sports across the country, including here at Hockaday.

To preserve the athletes, Hockaday coaches have altered their practice schedules in accommodation of the persistently high temperatures.

Cross country coaches moved practice to 5:45 a.m. in the morning. Although the girls have to wake up at earlier hours, it saves them from heat waves in the afternoon.

“I like it a lot better in the morning because it’s not hot outside. I would so much rather get up early!” said junior Renee. “Plus, you get free Hocka-Breakfast. Who would not want that?”

“I think if you’re an athlete and you like your sport, you don’t mind it,” said varsity field hockey coach Jennifer Johnson.

While the changes in practices have certainly been beneficial, head cross country coach LaBoris Bean said the first meet was hard for the runners, who had to adjust to competing in the mid-day heat.

“I think what’s really hard for some is that they are running in the heat, and they don’t really know what it feels like and they’re not hydrated probably,” said cross country runner junior Jackie.

Field Hockey, on the other hand, has chosen to combat the heat and preserve their time slot. Practices, however, are put on hold at least every 15 minutes to allow the girls a quick water break to rest in the shade and hydrate. Additionally, players are allowed to carry water bottles with them around the field. Games have also been affected:  each 30-minute half is dived in two so as to prevent heat exhaustion.

Jackie, who trained all summer at mid-day, has not had any problems so far.

“Being in the heat really isn’t that great, but you got to get used to it,” she said.

Less adjusted players, however, have had a harder time adjusting.

“The first day, I almost passed out,” said sophomore Grace. She was putting on her goalie gear after completing the warm-up drills for junior varsity field hockey. As she talked, sweat dripped down her forehead.  “[Playing] gets easier, but [the heat] doesn’t get better.”

The general consensus among athletes throughout each sport is that the heat has been very “inconvenient,” as well as “horrendous” and “extremely difficult.”

Sophomore Meredith, a member of the varsity field hockey team, said the heat has affected the way everyone plays.

“It wears you out,” Meredith said. “You get tired a lot faster, and it kinda just pushes your endurance. Like, you can really see who has the will power to keep going and just keep on running when it’s 106 degrees outside.”

“Our endurance has definitely gotten better,” teammate sophomore Catherine said.

Lately, however, some cooler weather and slight breezes have dispersed the oven-like heat and brought some relief to athletes – at least for now.

Said Grace, “It’s a sport and you make sacrifices for it, and as long as it’s not your well-being, it’s worth it.”

– Laura