Clean jerseys, the smell of popcorn in the air and the fans starting to arrive. This is typically what is seen of a student athlete; the glory of a win and the dismal loss in defeat. However that is only one part of a student athlete’s life. Being a student athlete for the past three years, I know this first hand. Game day is a tremendous rush of adrenaline and excitement. There is an amazing thrill in winning and a crushing feeling when falling short. Either way, these feelings have to be quelled the next day when workouts resume for the team. The thoughts need to be torn out of your mind in preparation for the following week.
There is typically one “off” day given to student athletes. For members of the football team this was on Mondays. This allowed for time to meet with teachers if necessary outside the normal class schedule.
Tuesday mornings are greeted with an early morning workout, typically with a crisp warm-up in the cool morning air to wake you up from any past regrets from the prior week’s game. Classes break up the day, followed by a swift return to meetings and the practice field in the afternoon.
This schedule is matched the one on Thursdays. The only difference on Wednesday is that there was no morning workout. Fridays would go from prep time/walkthrough to a trip to the hotel for the night before the game on Saturday, the day that the visible part of the “iceberg” would appear for a short time before receding once more into the sunset for the rest of the week.
The limelight and fanfare make being a student athlete a wonderful experience. However, this does not mean that it comes cheap. The payment required is the preparation during the week when a balance of playing the game and keeping up with academics when no one is watching becomes a requirement.
Everyone has busy schedules and things that they are dealing with whether they play a sport or not. College is a busy time for anyone involved. This article is meant to shed some light on what goes on during the week for a student athlete and to encourage you to think about the time and effort that goes into playing the sports not only on game day, but also when they really count: when no one is watching.