The costs of getting a head start at Edina

Art Boettge, staff writer

At Edina High School, it often seems like there is one thing on a student’s mind besides academics: sports. Throughout the halls, walls are filled with trophies and plaques commemorating past athletes, as well as large murals depicting EHS alumni excelling in every sport from alpine skiing to volleyball. 

Out of the many cities in the area, students seem to believe Edina stands out. “The culture at EHS is definitely the most competitive in the Twin Cities area. There’s so much pressure on kids to do well in sports,” junior Grace Phinney said. Phinney herself is a part of Varsity Gymnastics.

The competitive culture at EHS is in part due to the success it has received in athletics. Edina has received a total of 183 state championships (and counting), spanning across numerous sports and years. Some sports stand out in particular. For example, Girls’ Tennis has won 37 state titles, Boys’ Tennis has won 24, and Boys’ Hockey has won 13 state titles. From all these state titles and wins, it’s no surprise that participating in a sport for four years of high school does not suffice; students must often start sports at a much younger age. Edina is used to winning state titles, so in order to continue to be better than the other schools, kids need to start earlier. “I think starting when I was so young was definitely part of [how I got onto Varsity]. Tennis is kind of a skilled sport, so being able to start early, I was able to develop the skills before I was physically able to be an athlete,” senior Ryne Reger, who has been a member of Boys’ Tennis since 7th grade, said. “Our team is pretty young this year and I think we all started when we were around five, or very early.”

Phinney agrees. “Gymnastics is a sport about fundamentals, so it’s really important to get those down before you start becoming physically strong,” Phinney said. 

Along with starting sports at a young age, the high cost definitely plays a big role for families of athletes, who end up having to pay the bills. With numerous sports costing hundreds of dollars, the bills definitely add up. The costs can range from new pads, fundraising fees, and just the cost to be involved in the sport. “As kids grow they have to get new pads and stuff each year, and for youth programs they don’t rent out stuff, you have to go out and buy it,” senior Malachi Johnson said. Johnson has been playing sports for Edina since he was in 5th grade, and currently participates in rugby and wrestling.

Overall, while Edina does foster kids getting involved in sports from a young age, the city provides other opportunities for students to participate in activities. “I think it’s good to start young, but you shouldn’t specialize at a young age. I did track, baseball, basketball and soccer when I started tennis as well, and then decided later to specialize in tennis,” Reger said. Although students are often pushed into entering sports young at Edina, there are numerous other options for students, meaning that what sport they start with doesn’t necessarily need to be the one they stay with.