Loyola's forgotten Club team.
Waking up at 5 in the morning does not sound too pleasant to most college students. We love our sleep and our scheduled nap times during the day are quite remarkable.
As my roommate continues to sleep, I change into my cycling kit in the dark. I think to myself 'Why are you up so early? Get some rest. Is this worth it?'. This has become an everyday thought as I joined a club sport my freshmen year of college.
I believe I chose the most involved and unrecognized club sport Loyola has to offer. Six rides a week, two to three hours each day, and traveling up to about 3-6 hours each weekend is what Loyola Cycling required to be competitive. Not to mention the supplemental workouts at the fac and out of conference races held almost every weekend once the season starts.
I continued to cycle into my junior year of college. When you workout at a vigorous pace six times a week for the entire school year, it can really get to you. Not to mention the piling homework from 16-course credits, a second club requiring your attention, as well as a job. It has taught myself time management and where I should set my priorities. Should the team be a priority?
And for what? My team isn't even considered a varsity sport. We receive no attention or money from the school. The majority of the Loyola's population doesn't even know we exist. It is extremely difficult to put an enormous amount of time and energy and not receive the outcome you would like. We compete against all varsity sports as well as put in the work necessary as our varsity sports do here at Loyola.
Again I ask myself, 'Is this really worth it?'
Yes, it is.
Slowly but surely I have come to realize that climbing my way up a mountain with the winter air pounding against my face 50 miles away from campus is worth it. Being able to see myself improve my times is worth it. Having the countless bruises and road rash are worth it. Knowing that I am contributing to my team's accomplishments is worth it. Creating lifelong memories is worth it. Having my best friends by my side the entire time is worth it. Becoming a mentor to my freshmen buddy is extremely worth it.
I have learned a lot about myself over the past two years and I thank my team for allowing me to realize them. When I entered college, I knew I wanted to keep myself involved with a sport. It becomes very difficult for someone who was a major athlete in high school to not do one in college. It is a way of life that I refuse to give up. I may complain about the pain I am in or how I don't want to wake up early the next morning, but I wouldn't take any of it back. We are competitive against highly accomplished D1 cycling teams. I don't need a label of varsity or club to tell me how much work I know my teammates and I put into every race.
As I walk out of my room, I tell myself, "It is worth it."