Senior athletes take notice.

You're now less than six weeks from graduating. For all but a few of you, your athletic careers will be over next month -- maybe even next week.

That's not much time.

Burn out seems inevitable. You're so ready to be done with the monotony of high school. You can smell college, right?

Don't give in. Fight the urge to fall for senioritis.

Or at least don't give-in in the athletic realm. Many Fairfield kids are going on to higher education, they'll go to class and become specialized in a field. There is significant classroom time still to come.

But practices? Or actual competition? Not much. Plus, the clock is running out on the fellowship of being a teammate.

Don't take that for granted.

I, honestly, don't miss practices from my years as an athlete. But I miss the camaraderie, that singleness of purpose that comes from being on a team.

When you hear professional athletes after they retire, that's what they miss the most, too. They know their bodies give out, or they can't take the full-season rigors and nights away from home and family.

But the love of each game runs deep. And for high school athletes, the shared joy of a locker room full of teammates, pasta nights or painting lockers is hard to duplicate.

Sure, there are club and intramural sports. But they're not the same. There's nothing like lacing up your sneakers -- or cleats -- and competing at the highest level possible. Intramural is about having fun and staying active, varsity sports are about testing oneself and seeing if he or she can pass.

Don't believe me? Just ask Prep boys lacrosse coach Chris Smalkais.

"High school sports are about competition," he said Monday, "to challenge yourself and reap the rewards if you're successful ... because life is challenging."

Seniors, this is likely your last chance to compete. Better make the most of it.;

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