How we balance school and professional sport

By Vivienne Wandera: Tuesday, April 23rd 2019 at 12:17 GMT +3 | Sports
Ryan Otsimi [Courtesy]

The importance of sports and games in school encompasses more than just the benefit of physical activity. Increases in self-esteem and mental alertness make school sports and games necessary for every school age child. Games and sports are an integral part of a student’s life.

A student should study hard to be successful in competitive examinations. But, he should also play games and sports to enjoy the health and vigor of life. Playing and excelling in sports also teaches students the importance of hard work, perseverance, learning from failure, and importance of grasping opportunities.

Balancing between school and sport, however, is not an easy trade for many students. A majority have to choose between missing classes and repeating a semester or a whole year of school in order to find the perfect balance. Unlike their peers in other countries who have access to make-up classes provided by the school and tutors to help them catch up with the rest of the students, Kenyan students in sports have to find their own ways to ensure they don’t miss nor fail their exams.

These three sports stars share their challenges in being active sportspeople and how they find the perfect balance between their different games and school.

Phillip Kambili

Rugby player and electrical engineering student at the University Of Nairobi.

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“Being a player in the national team and also a student is quite tasking because both engagements are demanding. There are times when I have to travel outside the country for weeks and opt to carry take my lecture notes with me in order keep up with my school work. Even then, studying while on tour is challenging because you get very little time to read. You either read in the bus on your way to training or on days when you’re not training or playing.

I also have to make sure that I am friends with the best students in my classes so that I can borrow their notes and update mine. In order to be allowed to sit for my exams, I have to get a letter from the dean and from the coach of my team and, or the rugby union to show that indeed I was away on national duty.

As of now I have to repeat an entire year of school. It is quite inconveniencing for me. Making it to class on time and also getting to training on time is also an uphill task. I not only live far away from school and from the training grounds, but our transport system is also very unreliable. It takes me at least two hours to get to and from these engagements leaving little time to rest and prepare for the next day.” Kambili says.

Myra Wendo Dorcile

International Business Administration student and captain of United States International University swimming team.

“Balancing between school and swimming is not easy, but I always manage my time and work by adhering strictly to a timetable.  With it, I am able to prioritise my school work in order to meet deadlines. I have missed a few classes but only during swimming galas that are out of Nairobi. I always make sure I attend classes when possible but I have never had to repeat a class because of swimming.

If I had the opportunity to change something I would change the location of training. As of now we train at Kasarani between 11am to 1pm making it difficult for me to make it back to school for my classes which starts at 1.20pm.” said Myra.

Ryan Otsimi

International relations student. Basketball, rugby player, soccer, American football player, tracks short races and swimming.

“When it’s time for class, it’s time for class; and when it’s time for sports, it’s time for sports. Over the years, I have learnt how to channel equal focus to the different activities I engage in. I, in fact, participate in about six different sports.  The most difficult part of this balance finding time for myself and my social life.

Everything else can be put on a timetable and observed to the latter. I have missed classes before because of games but I always make sure that the school is aware before it happens. At the beginning of every semester, I communicate with the sports department to get the sports calendar and communicate the same with the affected unit heads. I have good rapport with my friends who share their notes with me while I am away. Our school also boasts an effective blackboard system where students can keep up with notes posted by the lecturers,” Otsimi says.