The first thing you should know about Division 3 athletes is that they have this undeniable passionate love for their sport.
They don't get paid. They don't get a sports channel to show their games, meets, or tournaments. They don't get recognized by anyone outside of their little college town.
And that's perfectly okay with us.
Going Division 3 doesn't mean we take the sport any less lightly than the ones going Division 1. We're still dedicated, obviously so if we're signing up to continue what we do for the next four year. Actually, we're beyond dedicated, we're determined to reach the goals that we didn't think were possible. It doesn't matter if we get paid to do what we love. It matters that we work for what we love, in hope that it pays off in the end. It's not all about reaching the goals, though. It's about how we get to those goals.
Being apart of a team that doesn't pay you to play, means that we have to be as good as we are a player as we are a student. Our GPA has to be good enough to get into the sports program, and it has to stay good enough to participate in it after you've committed. Time management skills are needed to balance out your sport, and your classes.
Often times, a D3 team is smaller than the higher divisions, and it allows the members on the team to create a famiy-like atmosphere fairly quickly. Being around a small group of people is being around your best friends, in and out of your games, your meets, and your races. These people begin to recognize your feelings without you having to talk to them about it, they know how to pick you up when you fall, and just how to get you hyped up. Before you know it, you have a whole group of people that have your back through thick and thin...even if they aren't always your best friends.
Being a part of a D3 team allows your coach to know you beyond your talents in your sport. They become someone that guides you through your anxieties about school, your stress about not being good enough, your troubles that don't belong to the sport. They become more like a therapist, friend, family member, and coach all in our.
We don't always get recognized after a big win, we don't get the whole entire campus coming to our games/meets. We have our families, we have our coach, we have our friends coming to see us out of their own love for us - not the sport.
Division 3 is often underrated and looked past, but it shouldn't be. We have good athletes, we have good programs. We have good grades, and even better relationships with each other and our coaches. We have a family that we can fall back on, one that gets to know you better than you almost know yourself.
Going D3 doesn't make us any lesser of an athlete.
Don't underestimate us.