Being a collegiate athlete is one of the greatest experiences I have ever been a part of, but no one fully understands the commitment we make.
Okay - so before school even starts some of us are here two weeks early. If that is not dedication, I don't know what is. We give up the last two weeks of our summer to go have three-a-days. We eat, sleep, and breathe our sport.
Preseason rolls around...it has begun. We only play our sport for however long the duration of preseason may be. It can be a long week. We become exhausted, we are always hungry, and most of the time our bodies just ache.
As your friends start moving in for the regular school year they wanna go out with you to dinner, or just hangout, and for you that is a huge deal. You can barely make it out of your bed, so you have to decline. Friends do not understand your reasoning though. After going, going, going for over a week, you just need some time to breath, and get yourself back together.
Once school starts, your life becomes the definition of crazy. You wake up, go to classes, have an academic meeting with your coaching staff, go to more classes, find time to eat lunch at some point, more classes, lifting with your team, maybe eat dinner, and then practice. Crazy right? It is a miracle if we even have time to sit down and eat a meal.
That is what a general schedule looks like for someone who is only involved in athletics. For myself, my schedule is beyond crazy. I get up in the morning, go to the Student Government office to complete office hours, go to class, have an academic meeting with my coaching staff, more classes, eat lunch in the student government office to finish more office hours, lifting with my team, maybe go home to eat dinner (will probably stay on campus to eat because of time), practice, and then I write my article for the school newspaper.
A student athlete in college is a super star when it comes to doing everything I listed above, and doing it well. Anyone can go through the motions of being super busy, but doing it well says a lot about a person.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to just try to put yourself in a collegiate athletes shoes when you get frustrated with them because of their schedule. It is not just athletes either that have crazy schedules, anyone can. Be as understanding towards anyone about their hectic life as you would want someone to be towards you.
The commitment that collegiate athletes make regardless of the division that they play in is a commitment like no other. I play field hockey at the division three level, and a lot of times people think that it does not require a lot of me. Think again.