Being A Division I Athlete Isn't Just About Being An Athlete

Being A Division I Athlete Isn't Just About Being An Athlete

As a collegiate athlete, especially at the Division I level, you are expected to be the best of the best, not only in your sport but also in the classroom.

"Athletes get into any school if they are good enough at their sport."

"They could just fail out of school and it would not matter at all."

Let me just start here: where everyone thinks they know exactly what they're talking about when in reality they are so far from correct.

As a collegiate athlete, especially at the Division I level, you are expected to be the best of the best, not only in your sport but also in the classroom. But in actuality, it does not matter how good you are if you do not have the grades to back you up.

We are STUDENT athletes.

No matter how much we jokingly say otherwise, school will always come first.

As an athlete, you are representing the entire school in every race, game or match, and you must wear your school's name with pride and respect. A collegiate athlete is expected to be a well-rounded student who happens to have a special talent in their particular sport.

A Division I athlete is not much different than Division II or III, except the aspect of training and maybe a little more success in high school.

Coming from a very successful and prestigious rowing team in high school, I always knew I wanted to be Division I because I was always taught to work to be the best at whatever I encounter in my life.

The 20 (or more) hours of practice a week, plus school, plus visits to Sports Med to fix any nagging pains, plus just being a college student in general, seems to take up more hours of the day then there even are to offer, but somehow we all get it done.

Somehow, at the end of the day, we are able to sit back and reflect on how lucky we are to attend the amazing school we are at and to play the sports we love so much and be truly grateful.

I think I can speak for all athletes when saying that the most rewarding feeling is when you know you are getting better. When you know you made that positive change in the right direction, that will, in turn, help you become a better athlete.

I just wanted to clear the air on the fact that student-athletes are students first, but we also are athletes who work to our fullest potential and even more because it is who we are, and our minds are and will always be set on being the best of the best.

We will stop at nothing to keep fighting for that to happen.

Cover Image Credit: Lilly O'Sullivan

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There Is No Better Feeling Than Stepping On The Field

When the whistle blows, nothing else matters.

It begins the second you step foot off the bus.

Everyone has their headphones on listening to their favorite pre-game playlist. The freshmen are grabbing the water and other equipment. The whole team is in matching warm-ups, looking game ready.

When you enter the locker room, the intensity changes. We come together as a team. We discuss our plan of attack. We hype each other up. We put on our uniforms with the intention of making our school proud tonight. We are almost ready.

Warm up is important. Its time to get focused. Every pass, every touch, every shot counts. Get the jitters out now because the second that whistle blows, nothing else matters.

Game time.

This is it. This is what you have been preparing all week in practice for. This is what your coaches have been getting you ready for. This is when you get to show your school how hard you've been working. This is when all the extra time and preparation you have put in will finally pay off.

Nothing else matters.

When you step foot on the field, you forget everything that is going on in your life and you just play. You forget about the test that you have been stressing all week about. You forget about the shots you missed during warmup. You forget about the tension that was lingering at practice.

The only thing that matters is the game.

There is no better feeling than standing in your position and hearing the whistle blow. Everything else fades away and it is just you and the goal.

Cover Image Credit: Janelle Healy

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Tiger Woods May Be An Unlikely Childhood Hero, But He's Still Mine

I remember it so vividly, the moment I fell in love with Tiger.

In recent weeks, I have written a few sports articles that have turned some heads, raised eyebrows and even caused a few heated debates. Is it because I am trying to agitate people and create a riot? The answer is no. Is it because I have fallen in love with a few underappreciated sports teams and heroes? The answer is yes.

So without further ado, I present another bold sports statement that you may not agree with, however, it resonates very well with me: Growing up, my favorite athlete was and still is Tiger Woods.

I remember it so vividly, the moment I fell in love with Tiger.

I was sitting on my parents' bed watching the Masters. It’s 2005 and Tiger is wearing his “Sunday red” which essentially meant that he was in contention to win the moment he stepped onto the golf course that day. He’s hooked a tee shot about 30 feet past the hole onto a fringe of thick rough. It’s the 16th hole of Augusta National, one of the most famous golf holes in the world. Woods spent about 15 minutes with his caddy surveying the land, trying to find the right line and scrupulously scoping out the best approach to take.

Then he walked up to the ball, took a hefty swing and the rest was history.

This famous chip shot took place on the biggest stage of professional golf and only one man, to say it candidly, had the balls to go for it.

This heightened confidence and ability to be fearless with a golf shot that had more downside than it did up, was what roped me into forever loving this iconic athlete.

From then on out I was hooked on Tiger Woods. I was enamored by his poise and laser focus. I remember watching how comfortable and relaxed he looked, despite playing in front of large audiences. He was always able to block out the noise and hype that followed him, and when a shot mattered most, he was going to sink it into the cup and flash his signature uppercut fist pump.

As a kid, I wanted to be just like Tiger. Whenever I would score a goal in little league soccer or make a basket I would imitate his fist pump and yell. I wanted to be a ferocious competitor and a winner just like he was in his prime. I wanted to emulate his ability to stay focused and block out any outside pressures.

And I wanted to be the greatest of all time, just like he is.

Yes, Tiger Woods has experienced a drastic fall in recent years off of the golf course, but speaking strictly from an athletic perspective, he is to this day one of the greatest sports heroes of all time and is my favorite sports figure.

Cover Image Credit: @tigerwoods

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