Heat waves, wildfires pose concern for after school activities

Jesse Sparks

When I first heard the saying “Everything is bigger in Texas” I thought that it was a joke that only applied to oversized bread, mums and gas station ICEE’s. However, as I stood on the scalding cement with the soles of my shoes melting under me and the stench of smoke filling my lungs, I realized that the saying also applies to Texas’ heat waves and the damage they can cause.

Many students, just like me, are feeling the effects of the heat waves during their outdoor extracurricular activities. The rising temperatures have interfered with my marching band rehearsals. Do not misunderstand me, I love nauseating heat and the lack of moisture as much as the next person, but when the heat limits our outdoor rehearsal time and fills the sidelines with dehydrated students, we have a problem.

Our marching band is not the only organization feeling the strain of the heat. Many organizations across the district are implementing alternatives to deal with the heat. Marching bands and sports programs have spent more time emphasizing the importance of hydration and nutrition, which lead to less time for practice, in an effort to combat the weather and protect students.

The epidemics of heat stroke and dehydration have forced some directors and coaches to bench students that do not have the appropriate sized water jug, which has been a common issue during band practice. Some participants say that this approach may extreme, but it’s important that coaches and directors take initiative to avoid any possible health related incidents, even if it interferes with rehearsals or practices.

In light of the numerous wildfires that have ravaged through the drought stricken areas of Texas, the leaders and supervisors of extracurricular activities have made the right choice to limit student exposure to these conditions. Not to mention the spread of the smoke given off by the wildfires, which makes outdoor activities a gamble for many students the with respiratory issues.

Near by forest fires in Columbus and Bastrop have caused an increase in the concentration of smoke in the Katy area. Therefore, administrators canceled all after school practices on Sept. 8 due to the adverse effects of smoke exposure, such as coughing, scratchy throat, and chest pains.

After fighting against heat, drought and now the remnants of wildfires, some would say that standing outside for hours on end to participate in the school band program or football practice is just not worth the hassle. However, we the insane students that tirelessly fight sunburns, love what we do. We love the feeling we get when the play that we rehearsed 20 times in practice finally succeeds or when that little freshman trumpet marches the band show perfectly for the first time. We love finishing that race or hitting that homerun more than we hate the heat, and we would gladly put up with it solely to experience those feelings.

From these heat drenched evenings I have learned something, a moral to my story of hot, humid, or even smoky September nights: although everything, including temperatures, toast, mums and ICEE’s, is bigger in Texas, so is the dedication of the students who work their butts off in those very same temperatures.