From the outside looking in, the life of a student-athlete can be seen as one filled with glory and glamour. As a student-athlete, I can say this is true to some degree; however, there is much more to it than meets the eye. Very few athletes nationwide end up sealing the opportunity to compete in collegiate athletics. It’s not easy. For those like myself who do, it depicts a beautiful struggle.
There is no down time. It’s 5 a.m. on Monday morning and outside is pitch black. I am up at this time every week day, either lifting in the gym and running or doing a one-hour long spinning class. My body is shivering from the brutally frigid air around me. Seven teammates are by my side, stretching their sore muscles — drunk with fatigue. Most of us have become numb to the sight of seeing each other vomit and cramp. Nonetheless, we continue to give everything we have each day.
Being able to maximize productivity for the rest of the day becomes perhaps the greatest challenge. Drinking a lot of water and takings naps are helpful. As daunting as these early mornings are, I take strength away from the situation. I understand that I cannot do it alone and that is why I have a team next to me — a band of brothers — trudging along the same path toward our ultimate goal of becoming NCAA Division 2 National Champions.
For student-athletes, it’s not just about the wins and losses or how much money we may or may not be making for our universities. Being a student-athlete develops our character, tests our resolve, our ability to balance sports and academics and teaches us the principles of preparation, respect, communication and teamwork. It’s a tough but rewarding road. I dislike the early mornings and most days at training, but I push through it knowing I will be strongly rewarded on the other side of pain.
I’m proud to be a student-athlete. My hard work and dedication to my sport has brought me unprecedented success and joy throughout my life. Oh, and did I mention being a student-athlete pays for my education?
Dylan Hall is a mass communication sophomore.