Many times when the going gets tough I wonder what my life would have been like if I didn’t chose the path I did of being a student-athlete at Cleary. Maybe I would look more like a girl or at least more put together as opposed to a jock in her navy and red Cleary gear everyday who had to dress for the practice that immediately followed class. Or what it would be like to go the gym for a social and self-fulfilling purpose as opposed to a mandated obligation. Maybe I would binge-watch Netflix a lot more and have much more money to spend on going out and for campus food like Starbucks and Qdoba. Maybe my friend group would be a bit more dynamic then my fellow teammates and I’d have a lot less sleep-deprived days. Practicing 6 or 7 days a week along with packing in at least 20 games in the falls followed by around 50 games in the springs is no joke. Cramming for a last minute exam is a lot harder when you have a double header 2 and a half hours away in Grand Rapids. Honestly, it is a grind and one that takes being mentally tough and patience you really don’t have. I will be the first to admit that I have surrendered to mental lapses and became envious of my peers who have the time to join campus groups, go out to dinner with friends, have extra time to study, who have the time to get an internship to jumpstart their careers, those who go out at night and can live the normal college life.
However I am usually quick to snap out of it when I realize I am living the athlete’s ultimate dream, pursuing my passion, and am fueling my old dreams. At times like these you have to remember why you started and how far you have come. Reminisce on how much hard work was required to get you where you are and how many friends and experiences you’ve gained. Not to mention why you still play. Is it to make yourself or your family proud? Is it because of your passion for the game? For me it’s both of those and the fact that I play for the little girl who picked up a bat and never looked back. The little girl whose biggest dreams was to be a Disney princess and a college softball player.
Sure it’s awful hard to juggle everything but that is what makes it so great and so rewarding. Between the morning workouts, having classes all day, cramming for exams, going to a three hour practice and hours worth of travel time, nothing can top wearing Cleary Softball across my chest and playing for my school, coaches, teammates, peers, family and myself. I promise you it is so unbelievably gratifying and will transform you into someone who can conquer the world with their perfected and tested time management skills.
So even though I may have missed out on the cliché American college experience, being a collegiate athlete is something only a small percentage of students can say they have been and it is truly life changing and no amount of parties, Netflix, or Qdoba can change that. What can I say; the life of a student athlete has taught me so me things that a classroom or textbook could never and while this can be can be overwhelming, it is so very worth it.