Here is a quick disclaimer to this column: I am a freshman.
I have not been on campus very long. I do not want to pretend like I understand how everything here at UW-Whitewater works.
But since I have been on campus, I have noticed something about being a student athlete in college.
It is not like high school. College sports are a whole different ball game in more than one way.
I am a wrestler, and in high school, that was always my main sport. Other sports took a backseat to wrestling, and since it is a winter sport, I got a couple solid months of school before practice even started.
This is not exactly the case in college. Morning workouts started two days after I arrived on campus, and “optional” open practices started the next week. I knew it was coming, but I definitely was not prepared mentally or physically for the toll it was about to take on my body.
I do not think I have ever been more sore than the day after our first morning workout. I stood up out of bed and almost fell back down. It is not like I am not accustomed to being sore, but it is a different level of sore.
Even though practice and workouts can kind of suck, the positives far outweigh any negatives of being a student athlete. The coaches really do care about your schoolwork. Having study tables forces me to actually do a lot of the work that I definitely would not have done otherwise.
Relationships with your teammates are unlike other friendships. Especially in a sport like wrestling, there is a bond you form when all suffering through those practices together.
Being a student athlete takes up a lot of my time, and sometimes it sucks. When you’re a Division III wrestler who most likely will not make the starting lineup, you know you are not in it for any money or accolades.
If you do not love your sport, it is difficult to stay motivated to go to practice and wake up at 5:45 a.m. for a 6:30 a.m. lift.
But I do love it, and in the end, I know that it will be worth it.