What I Took With Me From my Life as a College Athlete

What I Took With Me From my Life as a College Athlete
  • Opening Intro -

    College... the word itself seems to be intimately linked with nostalgia.

    Like some alternate dimension where the mundane rules of the real world are suspended for four glorious years.

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Story of a college athlete friend of mine…

The Life Of A College Student

College… the word itself seems to be intimately linked with nostalgia. Like some alternate dimension where the mundane rules of the real world are suspended for four glorious years.

College… sun kissed courtyards, young lovers, and the unbridled potential of youth. Four years of ‘finding yourself,’ of switching majors by the minute, of discovering at leisure previously unknown interests and talents.

The idyllic days are marred somewhat only by the frantic, manic demands bestowed by the cruel gods of semester examinations and assignments. With the zenith of achievement being the acquisition of a College degree.

…And The Life Of A College Athlete

And then there’s the other kind of college life. The kind pursued by yours truly and scores of other ‘college athletes’.

Yes, these are the students who you might have seen rushing into class dressed in highly unfashionable track suits. The students who never really seemed to turn up for the parties and the ones who always seemed a little worse for wear.

Although it varies from sport to sport, the routine that we ‘sports students’ have to follow would be more at place in perhaps an army barrack. Weeks slip by as we struggle to successfully juggle classes, assignments and tests with practice, gym, and conditioning sessions.

On the weekends we travel across the state, looking to climb the points ladder.

The times spent traveling with my teammates to various matches mark my perfect college memories. The shuddering, complaining bus, the same old Subway sandwiches, the shared sense of victory, and of defeat as we head back to school – my personal nostalgia lane.

There’s something about playing for a team that builds a person. To live together and die together, to hurt together in those grueling hours at the gym- to grow together.

Lessons Learned

This is not to suggest that I was some wise sage who was absolutely fine with missing out on every ‘traditional’ college experience. I can proudly say that I have managed half a handstand on a barrel of beer, and that I know what coffee mixed with red bull mixed with melted chocolate tastes like.

But as I look back at my college experience what I remember most potently are the bus rides.

What helps me balance my work requirements today is the discipline instilled deep in my bones by the crazy schedule I followed for four long years.

What I cherish most are the friendships forged over devastating losses out on the court. I think of the wins we celebrated and an involuntary smile tugs at my lips.

The life of a college athlete is far from the life of the ordinary student. Tournaments, practices, injuries collides with the world of academia. But I am ever so grateful for those years I spent playing and studying. And striving every minute to be the best version of myself possible.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Categories: Collegiate Sports