Stress Management was a timely off-court discussion topic this past Saturday at Marcy, where our students were about two weeks into the school year and two weeks away from the end-of-season Jamboree tournament. In between match play station drills and games, the kids chatted with Gary at a court-side picnic table. The table seats about four to five people comfortably, so Saturday’s conversations were a bit smaller and more personalized than usual, allowing for greater individual contribution from each student.

The small groups spoke extensively about school-related stress. “Is a particular subject going to stress you out?” Gary asked to introduce the concept. Yes, while the kids are mostly comfortable with the upcoming school year, they remarked that they’re worried about one or two classes, and they agreed that stress is no fun. Stress causes poor health, they explained; stomach problems, bad eating habits and disorders and insufficient sleep are often the products of one’s nerves. Fortunately, the kids keenly understand how stress also motivates them to do better and promotes a sense of urgency. Moreover, they’re all well prepared to handle academic stress effectively. The Marcy kids pointed to music, friends, teachers and guidance counselors as their favorite resources for stress reduction.

Gary connected the upcoming Jamboree to the previous reflections on stress. “Will you be worried on Game Day? Will the competition and the eyes of your friends, family and other spectators cause you stress?” Luckily everyone agreed that nerves in sports are a positive thing in that they promote healthy competition.They closed out the conversations with reminders to practice good sportsmanship in the tournament.