The case for, and against, fall break


Fall break feels like a birthright to today’s educational community.  Administrators, staff, faculty, students embrace days of no classes, and find plenty of diversions – or at least, enjoy plenty of down time.

But the high school football season doesn’t take a break. District races are in full gear. Months of preparation and competition have set the stage for games played this week, with outcomes that will influence playoff chances and lifelong memories.

It’s not unanimous. In fact, most coaches are conflicted on the topic. Others, not so much. 

STACY BALLEW, Byrd – “Fall break alters the routine. I’m not a big fan of it.”

COY BROTHERTON, Parkway – “I love fall break. Earlier in my coaching career I wasn’t a fan because I worried about kids missing a practice. Now I love the extra time at home with family to relax. It comes at a great time halfway through the season and is much needed.” 

JAMES BRADFORD Jr., Green Oaks – “Fall break is a great time for everyone except football coaches/players. The one pro is not having to lesson plan and have all your classes.

“The cons are difficulty in getting your players to the school. Not actually getting to get away like other educators, and actually getting all your spirit groups and auxiliaries involved. This is a big week for teams working towards playoff berths.” 

JUSTIN SCOGIN, Airline – “I really enjoy being able to spend a lot of time with my family. The negatives are the kids having to find rides to practice and not already being at school – also, missing the school spirit part of the games.” 

ADAM KIRBY, Captain Shreve – “I have a love/hate affair with fall break. I’m so much routine-driven from what time I wake up, to what I eat, to how practice is on certain days that I don’t like the players having unaccounted time to get in trouble or do something stupid — but I do think it’s nice to be able to recharge the batteries as players and coaches and for me personally, to hang out with Rachel, Everett and Jackson. Like every other coaching family, they don’t get the time during the season they deserve.” 

CHASE THOMPSON, North Caddo – “Fall break is definitely a double-edged sword during football season. It’s a great break and allows you to recharge your batteries to finish the year strong.

“However, it comes with its challenges as well. Parents take athletes on vacations, players sleep in and miss practice, and some players are hard to get in contact with outside of school hours.”

THEDRICK HARRIS, Woodlawn – “Pro: more time to plan, practice, and breakdown film.

“Con: parents and players have to understand it’s a break for everyone but us. We have to take advantage of every minute to get better.” 

DENNY DURON, Evangel – “Honestly our students would rather be at school. As a coach, I think it’s a healthy break. We keep our practice schedule and hope our parents can manage the disruption in regular hours.” 

AUSTIN BROWN, Northwood – “Pros: nice cool morning practices, time in the afternoon to get stuff done around the house (LOL).

“Cons: of course, keeping tabs on our kids and their rides to practice.” 

CLINT WALKER, Plain Dealing – “Getting to spend a little more time at home is definitely a perk but we will still go in to work for practice. But I won’t fuss about the extra time at home.” 

GARY COOPER, Booker T. Washington – “Pros: 1, Everyone gets to sleep in. We practice early but not as early as a normal school day. 2, We get to go ahead and practice early and get everything done early that day.

“Cons: some parents do not understand breaks like this do not apply to their children when they play sports.”

REYNOLDS MOORE, Benton – “As football coaches, fall break is tough. Probably tougher on our families than on us. Lots of times my wife would come across great deals to travel somewhere but we’ve always had a game.

“It’s a great time to reset your battery, but our players, coaches, spirit groups and families really sacrifice the opportunity to do some of the things other students get to do.

“We always try to play on Thursdays during fall break so everyone involved in the game has a 3-day weekend to do something.”