To the incoming college athlete,
After all the years of hard work and dedication, you are finally committed to play a collegiate sport. You’ve spent hours upon hours at practices, games, and camps. You’ve done everything you could to get yourself recruited, and you did it. You’re on your way to college athletics.
When you first get to school for preseason, you’ll feel a rush of emotions. You’ll be sad when you say goodbye to your parents, excited when you get all your new gear, nervous for what’s about to come, anxious whether or not you’ll fit in with the team. But breathe. You’re there for a reason.
Practices will start up and you’ll feel culture shock. This isn’t the same as what you’ve been doing for the bast 10+ years. You are probably not the best person on the team anymore, you have to fight for your playing time, you are in a constant grind to prove yourself. You will face hard times and wonder why you are doing this. Just keep going.
Games will roll around, and you’re team has become a family. Win or lose, you’re together. Road trips to away games become a cross between team camp and a business trip. You’re there to the the W, but these are where a lot of memories are made. If you don’t make the travel squad, keep going. Prove to your coach that you should be traveling.
College athletics will be the best and hardest experience of your life.
There have been numerous times where I have been so frustrated I’ve been brought to tears. I have spent hours complaining to my parents and teammates about practices and games. I have spent hours questioning why I do this to myself. I have been pushed to my breaking point where I thought I couldn’t go on anymore, but I did. I have become a better athlete and person because of college athletics. I know I always have my teammates to fall back on. They are going through the same things I am. They understand the struggles.
There is no better feeling of when you’re team reaches the pinnacle and pulls out an amazing win. The feeling of when what you’ve been struggling with a practice finally clicks and you get, it can’t be replicated. College athletics makes you feel the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But in the end, only a small percentage of athletes get this chance. Do not take it for granted. These four years you have to be a member of the NCAA will be the greatest of your lifetime.
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”
– Kenji Miyazawa