Why Choosing to be a Collegiate Athlete was One of the Best Decisions I Have Ever Made

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 at 10:27 PM

Sports are a huge part of American culture. We play sports, watch sports, tune into morning talk shows and always have ESPN on. Some of us basically eat, sleep and breathe sports. You might have grown up playing a variety of sports: maybe youth soccer, city league basketball or club lacrosse; fill in the blank with your passion.

That youth league might have turned into varsity in high school, and maybe even led you to college athletics.

Playing in college is hands down the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. If you have the opportunity to play your sport in college, take advantage of it. If you don’t think you have the ability to play in college, don’t give up hope. If you’re willing to put in the time and work, there will be a college for you; you just have to look for it.

Being a college athlete has led me to so many incredible opportunities that nothing in the world could compare to. Sure, it isn’t always fun, but it’s always worth it. No one enjoys waking up at 5 a.m. in college, but the work you put in at morning practice or conditioning will pay off when your season comes around.

Going to college is scary, no matter who tells you otherwise and no matter how excited you are about it; there will always be a little built up nervousness when you step on campus. That is a good thing; it’s pushing you out of the comfort zone you’ve been living in for 18 years.

But knowing you’re walking onto campus with a team to greet you makes a huge difference.

You might not be best friends with them all right away, but they will become your family before you know it. You will eat with them, hang out with them, go to parties with them, and probably even live with them. You will learn their strengths and weaknesses. You will see them at their best and their worst. You will learn how they handle pressure and what motivates them. You will see them fail and you will see them succeed. You will see them cry and you will see them bleed. College athletics undoubtedly reveals true character.

It’s so much more than the halves you play on the court and the field. It’s so much more than the bases you run. It’s so much more than what you leave in the pool or on the mat. It’s so much more than that.

It’s the bonds you share with your teammates.

It’s the pregame rituals in the locker room and the movies you watch together on bus rides. It’s the meals you eat in random towns on the road and the fancy (or sometimes trashy) hotels you stay in. It’s the inside jokes you share and rushing to get to the showers first after games. It’s doing the most disgusting things you wouldn’t imagine doing in front of anyone else, but your teammates are used to it.

Being part of a team in college creates bonds that are unbreakable. You have your teammates’ backs and they have yours, no matter what. If you need something, you have a group of people you can always count on to lend a hand.

It’s one sport that brings you all together and the rest takes care of itself. It’s something you can’t quite explain, but there is a comfort in knowing you’re a college athlete. There is something so rewarding about being part of a small demographic and knowing you have the respect from all the other athletes around campus, too. Even though they don’t know what you go through everyday, they have their own struggles and triumphs to face with their own teammates, and you all support each other, day in and day out.

It’s being part of something bigger than you.

It’s the former athletes who played before you, whose spot you took over and the new athletes who will come and take your spot when you are gone. Sports bring people together and if you have the opportunity to be part of something as incredible as a college sports team, jump on the opportunity because it will shape you into someone your future self will be proud of.

Becca Martin is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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