Athlete sacrifices no different than those of other students

Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2015

Taylor Garcia
tgarcia@uccs.edu

If you have ever been to any kind of sporting event, you know how deafening the fans cans be, how loud the whistle sounds and how bad the referees are.

But have you ever been when there are no fans, players, coaches or refs? No pounding of the stands, no cussing at the refs. Silence.

When the field is empty, it’s an athlete’s favorite place to be. And there’s nothing that an athlete wouldn’t do to continue playing the sport they love.

But beyond that dedication to their sport, student athletes face the same daily problems that their peers do.

Sophomore Whitney Weber made the 885-mile move to Colorado Springs from Pasco, Wash. to play softball for UCCS.

“It’s a great experience to learn about yourself,” she said. “I am more capable than I knew.”

While she hasn’t seen her family since August and only saw them twice last year, Weber is adamant about the distance being a positive.

“The distance is good for this time in my life and I still talk to my family at least twice a week,” Weber explained. “Sophomore year has been easier, it isn’t that I miss them less but I’ve learned how to handle it.”

Weber had the chance to play softball at a Division III college that was closer to home, which her older sister attended, but she wanted to do something different. She is glad her parents can still see her play.

“It would be hard if my parents never saw a game. I am thankful they can come watch me play.”

On top of being away from her family, Weber has the weight of school to think about. She is enrolled in 17 credits.

In the spring semester during softball season, she is planning on taking 16 credits with three of those happening in the winter interim semester.

“I try to plan around season. I am more productive when I am busy, but you have to be conscious of your workload to not overwork yourself and get sick.”

For Weber, school comes first before softball. The only time Weber has encountered any difficulty is with group projects.

“When people have jobs and can still make time to meet, it frustrates them when I can’t because I could be gone the whole weekend due to games.”

Georgetown University did a poll on students across the United States looking specifically at students who are working while in college. They found that 25 percent of students are full-time workers and full-time enrolled students at their university.

Bringing that statistic to UCCS, 25 percent of our student body is 2,825 students. At UCCS there are 193 athletes and there are athletes who work in their offseason, but that is a small portion of our community.

The biggest difference athletes have to struggle with is when an injury happens.

Injuries are unexpected obstacles that slow down an athlete’s life when everything else keeps moving. It affects class attendance. It affects driving. But worst of all it takes away the one thing you felt you were supposed to do.

The thing about injuries is once they happen, they are likely to happen again. That is what happened to me.

I tore my ACL and medial meniscus my freshman year, then tore it again my junior year along with my lateral meniscus and all the cartilage off the head of my femur bone. I played one year of basketball out of my eligible four.

It’s been hard letting go of something I had been doing since first grade. Thankfully, I have been given the opportunity to be an assistant coach with the team.

For the most part, student athletes live the same lives as their fellow classmates. They go to class and have to deal with teachers. They have moms who worry and dads who check in once in a while. They work in their sport like you work outside of class.