The life of the college athlete
Admittedly, I’m no highly touted collegiate meal ticket— I mean athlete. It isn’t for a lack of trying because I’ve been involved with sports in some fashion since I was pop Warner age. However, I’ve been roommates with scholarship athletes and I’ve shared an apartment complex with my university’s basketball team so I’m very familiar with student athletes.
On the surface, the popularity, fame and the potential to make millions of dollars makes the lifestyles of college athletes appear ideal but appearances can be deceiving.
These young adults are trained from early ages to become the professional stars we watch on TV today. By trained, I mean spend countless hours of grueling physical and mental punishment. And while the trade off MAY result in a million dollar pay day, it isn’t always the young athlete’s decision to endure such a lifestyle.
This is a decision often coerced and sometimes forced by their parents. Most kids are told that they can be whatever their hearts desired, but the children gifted with supreme physical talents aren’t able to pursuit their other interests. It is an even worse scenario for those who have families who are depending on that child to monetize their athletic capabilities. No childshould have to feel the pressure of having to be the last financial hope of their entire family.These children grow up missing out on graduations, proms and other activities that make teenage years so wonderful. Imagine not having a real choice between a state qualifying game and a Sadie Hawkins dance. It’s easy for us on the outside to pick the important game, but they have been playing important games their entire lives; I’m sure sometimes they’d like to take it easy and unwind.When these young athletes make the transition to the college level, the difficulties increase. For the elite of student athletes, every small detail of their lives is microscoped by the media and public. Any small mistake is scrutinized and can lead to all of the hard work going down the drain. Although the NCAA says it is acting in the interest of the athletes, schools are making millions of dollars on them and the athlete’s compensation pales in comparison to the profit they bring. College athletes spend so much time between games and practice that they have no time for a part time job to buy some of the things they would like. Not to mention the fact that it’s hard to maintain a healthy social life that college student crave (despite athletes being revered on most campuses).
Collegiate athletes spend their entire lives prepping for their life in sports. They don’t have much room to deviate from their paths because a year off for them means losing their competitive edge (which is everything in the sporting world). It may seem like an easy lifestyle but it’s really like being in an arranged marriage because if you don’t go through with it, it’s like your bringing dishonor to yourself and your family. No one likes a quitter, especially in sports.