Getting up at 5:30 a.m., taking 18 credit hours, and practicing from early afternoon until nightfall. We do it for the love of the game... but it all comes with a cost.
Although we play sports because we absolutely love the grinding in the weight room, the demands of practice, and the thrill of a win, here's some of the daily struggles we student-athletes face on a daily basis.
1. Always being sore and achy
Being in pain is a daily struggle. It's easy to spot the athlete based solely on the way they are waddling across campus and complaining about how much their thighs hurt from the 6 sets of squats this morning.
2. Wanting to eat everything in sight
Consistent exercise drastically increases metabolism, thus greatly affecting the amount of McDonald's burgers and fries that the poor athlete wants to consume. You can't remember the last time you had a real meal, just a never-ending parade of protein bars and Gatorade.
3. Stressing out over everything
Staying ahead in schoolwork? Ha. Being able to grocery shop to be able to eat healthy foods that are essential for muscle growth and development? Must be nice. Quadruple checking your alarm so that you'll for sure wake up for 5 a.m. weights tomorrow? Just making sure.
4. Not having a true "off-season"
Season over? Weights start next week.
5. Not going home for school breaks
Depending on the season of your sport, it is nearly impossible to find a beach for spring break. Catch me at the apartment pool after practice instead!!
6. Scheduling activities around practice & game schedules
Oh, someone wants to go to dinner? Haha maybe three weeks from now. Changes in weather can alter practice and game schedules too, nothing is permanent in the world of athletics.
7. Never getting to look decent
Daily question: "Do I wear sweats to class today? Is it okay to wear the same sweatpants three days in a row if I haven't ACTUALLY sweated in them?" or "Maybe I'll wear that cute shirt with jeans tomorrow..?" Hmm, we'll see.
8. Not having a set sleep schedule
"Is it acceptable to sleep in all three of my classes today?" No, because then you'll get behind on schoolwork, which in turn will keep you up later while you're trying to catch up. The cycle never ends!
9. Keeping up with schoolwork
Oh... You have four tests, seven quizzes, and two projects this week? So sorry, you can't do those until you finish practice, get treatment, and run six miles. But we expect you to have a 4.0 and graduate in three and a half years.
10. Being sad once the season is over
There is no feeling that is sadder than when the last pitch, last shot, or last race of a season is over. Every single workout, meeting, and practice that was taken for granted is suddenly missed.
... but oh well, preseason weights starts next week!!!!
Although there are quite a few struggles that we athletes face daily, absolutely nothing compares to the joy that sport and competition brings. The friends made, the memories saved, and the victories waged are all reasons that these struggles are so worth it.