11 Reasons To Play A Sport In College

11 Reasons To Play A Sport In College

It's the best decision you will ever make
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The decision to continue playing a beloved sport in college is a tough one. For me, it was not easy to decide to play soccer in college, but I am very grateful and glad that I did. Playing soccer in college was the best decision I ever made and I do not regret it, however, playing a sport in college is a lot different than playing a sport in high school. You have to be dedicated and self-motivated to be able to continue on in college. If you are having troubling deciding if you should play a sport in college, here are 11 reasons why you should continue to play the sport you love.

1. Support

As a college athlete, you will get the support from some of the most influential people in your life. Your coaches, teammates, and trainers will help you with anything and everything you need. Everything from emotional slumps to academic goals. It is nice to have people who have your back.

2. Time Management

You are not only a student at your college or university, but also an athlete. Practice, games, tests, homework, and projects are all equally important as a student-athlete. You learn how to manage your time to get both your workouts in and do your homework and study as a student-athlete. You learn that time is valuable and waste as little of it as possible.

3. Fitness

As a college student, you will notice that many of your non-athlete friends struggle with working out and gaining weight. They just can't seem to find the time to workout and the food in the cafeteria has begun to give them the notorious "freshman fifteen." Student athletes already have their workouts built into their schedule and learn proper nutrition for their bodies, so they avoid weight gain and unhealthy habits. Your body will thank you for playing a sport in college.

4. Academic Motivation

Most college athletic programs require a minimum GPA to be eligible to participate in competitions and games. As a student-athlete, your grades must be above the minimum GPA of both your institution and athletic division so that you can play. Coaches also make sure their athletes are keeping up with their grades and will even encourage team study tables so that the team makes grade requirements

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5. Financial Aid/ Scholarships

A bonus to continuing to play the sport you love is that many (however not all) college athletic programs will give you a scholarship or some sort of financial aid for playing. Although plenty of student-athletes play in college not just for the scholarships, it is nice to be rewarded for all the time and effort you put into your sport.

6. Stress Reliever

College is hard and the bottom line is is that it is stressful. Students are overwhelmed in college and need something to help reduce their stress. Playing a sport in college is the perfect way to let off some steam and take a break from all the studying, homework, and projects. Physical activity helps reduce stress and anxiety and will make you a better, happier student.

7. Gives You Energy

College students are commonly said to be lazy and tired all the time. If you are a student-athlete though, you will most likely have more energy than your non-athlete friends. Physical activity helps pump more oxygen and blood throughout the body to all your body systems. The more oxygen and blood pumped, the more active you will feel. The extra energy you gain will help you manage your busy schedule and get everything done.

8. Friendships

Your teammates will become some of the most important people in your life. As a freshman, your teammates will be some of the first people you meet when you get to campus. You spend hours each day with your team at practices and games and will get very close with them very easily. Many of your best friends will be your teammates if you decide to play a college sport.

9. Sense of Purpose

Being a part of something makes you feel like you have a purpose. By playing on a college athletic team, you will feel like you are important to the team and will develop a sense of purpose. Each member of the team is valuable in different ways. You really feel like you belong and are an asset to your team as a college athlete. When you achieve both your individual and team goals, you will get your sense of purpose.

10. Commitment and Dedication

College athletes learn valuable lessons. Playing a sport in college is somewhat similar to having a job. If you don't show up to practice, your position on the team is in jeopardy. Sometimes it is hard to choose to stay in when your friends are going out because you have practice in the morning, or you wish you could go to the movies, but you have a game. However, as a college athlete, you must be dedicated and committed to the team. Learning to be committed and dedicated is important, because once you graduate, you will have to be committed to the career you choose.

11. Deepen your Passion

You have loved this sport your whole life, and the opportunity to play in college is a blessing not everyone has. If you get the chance to play in college, take it. High school athletes take playing a sport for granted, and as a college athlete, you are given the opportunity to continue to do what you love for the next for years.

Cover Image Credit: St. Ambrose Athletics

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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40 Thoughts You Have Before, During And After Running A Full Marathon

The thoughts before, during, and after the race I was completely unprepared for.

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One morning in December I woke up and decided I wanted to run a marathon in four weeks. I had little time to train, little time to prepare, but the new year was starting and I was determined to run. I would successfully run a marathon. I then made the poor decision to not only do a marathon but a half marathon the day before. In my life, I had only ever run a 5k. I had never run consecutively for more than four miles.

Even during my training for the marathon, I did hour based workouts due to my hope to get my legs used to moving for that long. I did a growth rotation, adding 30 minutes onto my training schedule every single day up until the race, my time making it up to six hours and then back down again. Luckily for me, I kept a constant pace of around 10 minutes per mile through the whole race. I knew this was a comfortable speed for me, and I could finish without being completely burned out, or so I thought.

Here are the thoughts that went through my head before, during, and after the race.

Before

1. It's 4:00 a.m. Why. Why is it 4:00 a.m.

2. I'm so tired.

3. That person is running to the start line. Why? Are 26 miles not enough? WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

4. This was a horrible idea.

*The first group of racers gets released*

5. Well, I guess there's no turning back now.

6. Wow, I'm really about to do this. Oh my gosh, this is crazy.

7. I really have to go to the bathroom.

8. YOU GOT THIS GIRL.

9. AHHHHH

10. You are not alone in this. There are thousands of people here. Just don't give up. You will finish.

During

Mile 1: Wow that seriously went by so fast. 25 more miles of this? Only 25 more steps to the finish line.

Mile 2: That only took me 16 minutes? Crap I need to slow down.

Mile 3: JUST RAN A 5K. YEEAAAAHHHH

Mile 4: I'm running in a sweatshirt, and I'm sweating, but I'm still cold. How is that possible?

Mile 5: So I only have 20 miles left, and I'm feeling really good. I should probably stop to stretch. But I'm passing all these people, so I should be doing okay. Right?

Mile 6: ENERGY GEL TIME. Ugh, these taste like berries I'm so excited. Water water WATER.

Mile 7: Damn this is easy. I'm like Hercules. HERCULES HERCULES.

Mile 8: Oh no, I'm hitting the baby wall. I'm getting tired, but I just need to get to mile 13, and then I can eat a snack and stretch.

Mile 9-13: Pretty Trees. Painful feet. Boredom. So many miles.

Mile 14: More than halfway there! Another Energy Gel just in case,

Mile 15-16: *Sings along to music and bobs head back and forth*

Mile 17: I don't feel too hot, my stomach really hurts.

Mile 18: *Wall hits* oh. my. god. I have never known true exhaustion until now.

Mile 19: I will never complain about a workout. Ever again. NEVER.

Mile 20: Six more miles? That's like, two 5ks! Oh my god, that's two 5ks. Kill me now.

Mile 21: I got bio-freeze in my eyes! I can't see! (I actually did get bio-freeze in my eyes, I was running with my eyes closed from miles 21-23)

Mile 22-23: Blink really fast. Don't run into people. DANG, IT. GET OUT OF MY EYES.

Mile 24: Two miles. Two miles left. My legs are numb. My bones hurt. Can bones really hurt?

Mile 25: Food.Water.Pain.Help.Numb.

Mile 26: Do not stop until you see the finish line. I will fight you Andrea. DO NOT STOP.

After

Crossing the finish line: Oh my goodness, I did it. I'm going to cry. Yep, I'm crying. I'm such a baby. That was the hardest thing I have ever done.

15 minutes after: I can't move my legs at all. *takes off shoes, feet are bleeding* well that's fun.

The day after: Ow.

Two Days after: What do you mean it's a four-week recovery process? Four weeks? Without running? *15 minutes later* My bones hurt. My head hurts. Why do my shoulders hurt?!? I'm never running again.

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