Non-Athletes: Do They Feel at Home in Chelsea?


CHS football field at daybreak

It is safe to say that Chelsea High School is incredibly sport-oriented, with a good 70% of Chelsea students playing some sort of sport throughout the school. From football to cross country, the Chelsea school district takes great pride in its athletics programs.

“Chelsea has always been sports driven, and they have always cared more about the students that play sports,” Alexandra Richards (‘25) said. “Like if a teacher were to be in the hallway, they’ll be like ‘Hey Alex, how’s your day going?’. But if it’s someone on the football team or someone who plays a sport, the staff is more enthusiastic. Student [athletes] are more recognized and more included in the community, more accepted. People glorify [them].”

Oftentimes, rumors spread about student-athletes being caught with a form of contraband and administrators letting them off the hook because of their status as school athletes. Other students whisper that they notice how some teachers curve grades to give the athlete a passing grade. 

“They’re favored, they get special treatment, they get more recognition, it’s not fair,” Richards continued. “I feel like a background character, an NPC, [other students are] not recognized.”

Despite the rumored advantages, many students don’t mind not being athletes. Some even prefer to stay out of the spotlight and others simply could not care either way. 

“I’m not really left out, but I’m not necessarily ‘in’ with anyone,” Harrison VanRemortel (‘24) said. “I have school spirit and all that, it’s just [that] I don’t necessarily care as much for [sports].” 

Many non-athlete students have a large portion of friends that participate in athletics and often go to games to support them and show school spirit. They just prefer to be in the background, knowing they are doing what they can to at least demonstrate support for athletics at Chelsea. 

“I mean it makes sense for people to join a sport, but it’s just not for me,” VanRemortel continued. “It’s good for college applications, but I’m not even really going to college, so it doesn’t matter to me.”

Athletics’ influence on college applications has a huge impact on students, oftentimes pressuring them to join some sort of club or sport. In both admission offices and students’ eyes, the more clubs or sports a student is in, the more likely their chances of getting into a good college.

“I don’t like going to a sport-focused school just because I feel like they only care about sports,” Anabelle Jaynes (‘25) said. “Like it’s do or die, you know? It’s like if you don’t play sports you’re not seen as an equal to the kids that do play. I mean personally, I feel like student athletes get more attention and can get away with more.”

These thoughts are common among non-athlete students and they often spread throughout the school. The majority of these rumors are not confirmed and are often spread due to frustration from feelings of exclusion or a bad experience with athletes or sports culture in general although there have been a few larger scandals surrounding specific student-athletes.

“I personally don’t feel like I get treated differently by staff, I’ve always been respectful so I’ve been shown respect back,” Chelsea football player Auden Howard (‘24) said. “As a member of the student council, we try our best to make everyone feel included, especially those who don’t play sports or take part in clubs.”

Many students on the student council come up with activities that non-athletes can contribute to, making them a key part of the school. When these students contribute, it can certainly unify the student body. 

“On the topic of student-athletes getting away with breaking the rules, I’ve personally never dealt with that stuff,” Howard added. “I’ve never heard or seen a situation where a star athlete gets away with something because of their athletic ability.”

Other athletes at Chelsea also think that the rumors spread are false, not having witnessed any suspicious activities, or receiving special treatment.

“I don’t necessarily feel like the athletes at Chelsea get treated better or given other special treatments,” Chelsea wrestler Victor Radu (‘24) said. “People here may think that we get [special] treatment but everything is the same as other students without athletic participation.”