I am a junior at Janesville Parker High School and a swimmer on the Parker/Evansville team. I have been swimming for eight years, and, in the off-season, I swim club for Beloit Tide. In the summer, I swim four hours a day, and in the spring and winter, two hours every weekday. During Parker’s swim season in the summer, we swim roughly 28 hours a week, and during the school year, we have morning practice at 6 o’clock till 7:15 with two-hour practices after school.

Now, why am I telling you all this?

This is in regards to the Sept. 15 GazetteXtra editorial, “Janesville athletics risk becoming a tale of haves and have-nots.” I have to say I am not a snowflake, but I was very offended by this editorial, and I don’t think the writers and editors really realize how much effort students put into their sport.

I will agree, yes, there are those select few who do not try during practice and expect to get everything, though they do the bare minimum. But, excuse my profanity, we as athletes work our asses off day and night to keep up with school and sports.

The closing sentence of editorial states, “But being competitive should matter, and too many Parker teams aren’t.” This is really what upset me because, along with my team, teachers, coaches, parents, the community and many other teams work so very hard.

Yes, we may not win but that does not under ANY circumstance mean we are not competitive. Another thing that really makes me upset is that an adult wrote this editorial. You come down, hop in the pool or on the field or on the court and do what we do. Go to class for eight hours in AP or honors classes or whatever classes that we have. Go home and do homework.

Having this light shining down on us that we are always losing is a terrible feeling. And then just to add a cherry to it all, call us not competitive. I don’t know any athlete that would want to lose—any athlete at all. Now, unless you know of one, please let me know. But the support student-athletes have received from teachers and parents and adults is amazing.

When I went into class Monday, in five of the eight classes I had, the teachers told us of how proud they are of the athletes, and they know how hard we work. You do not have to win to be competitive, and, unfortunately, some adults do not understand that. I am so very proud of my team with the effort those girls put in.

Parker athletes work their butts off day in and day out. We want to win. We want to beat other teams and make our parents, coaches, peers, adults and school proud. I love Parker High School very much, and I couldn’t be more proud to go to this school. When I wear my letterman jacket or Parker team apparel, I am PROUD to be a Viking.

We stand as one. I know how hard we work, and if the community can’t see that, then I don’t know what else to say.

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Maggie Barnes plans to attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy or enlist in the Navy after she graduates from Parker High School.

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