Competing in the cold

As the holidays near, professional and collegiate athletes have to compete while we sit on our couches and enjoy spending time with our families.
Athletes should not have to compete during the holidays regardless of their professional or amateur status.
Athletes should not have to compete during the holidays regardless of their professional or amateur status.
Yaya Orszula

As the winter holidays approach, many families — including mine — look forward to watching sports, from football to college basketball, on their days off. It’s easy to get swept up in the luxury of sitting on the couch sipping hot chocolate while our favorite players make the perfect pass and layup or score the game-winning touchdown, but we often forget the sacrifices players make. We should not expect professional or collegiate athletes to compete on holidays.

Five NBA games are set for Christmas Day, combined with three NFL contests. Not to mention a tournament championship in Hawaii for mens college basketball. Multiple competitions are scheduled for Christmas Eve and the day following Christmas as well.

Although it’s difficult to feel sorry for these athletes when they make millions of dollars a year, they are still human and deserve a few days off.

— Yaya Orszula

Due to these competitions, players do not get to spend time with their loved ones around the holidays. This is unfortunate for athletes as they likely want to get away from their sport for a little while. Because Christmas is a national holiday, most individuals do not have to work, and this should include professional and collegiate athletes.

Although it’s difficult to feel sorry for these athletes when they make millions of dollars a year, they are still human and deserve a few days off. Furthermore, taking these days off will show younger athletes that they can take a break, too, as mental health issues among the population continue to soar.

The rest of the sports world should take a page out of the NHL’s book. The NHL has a three-day break for Christmas: Christmas Eve through the day after Christmas. This provides a break for athletes while still getting them back in action quickly.

Additionally, the NCAA and professional sports leagues should not schedule competitions during other holidays such as Eid-al-Fitr, Yom Kippur and the Chinese New Year. This would allow athletes of all denominations to celebrate their respective holidays.

Winter break is something people take for granted, and we need to recognize that not everyone has that luxury. As we enjoy watching sports over break, we need to remember the sacrifice that collegiate and professional athletes are making to provide us with entertainment.

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