For senior athletes, end of careers are bittersweet

May 7, 2012

Kailey Hernandez
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As the semester slowly finishes, for many, it means the beginning of summer. But for several senior athletes at UCCS, it is also a final farewell to the sport, teammates and school that they have poured their time and energy into for the last four years.

“This year has been bittersweet. Basketball has been my life since the time I was little, but I am definitely ready to face a new challenge in the real world,” expresses senior basketball player Ashley Miller.

For senior softball player Christina Blanton, softball will forever be a part of her life, in spite of the fact that her UCCS career is over.

“It’s sad knowing this is my last season at this level. It’s hard to grasp the idea that my career is over as a collegiate athlete,” she said.

It’s not just the games that senior basketball player J.T. Isaac will miss. He said he will also “miss the feeling of home games when we are in the locker getting ready for a game or getting hyped with my team or hearing the crowd yell.”

What Blanton will miss most about playing at UCCS are the friendships she formed while playing softball.

“All the UCCS athletes are like family,” she said.

Miller finds that what she will miss most is not the blackout games or thrilling games. For her it is “just the idea of being a college-athlete, because there’s a lot of pride associated with that tag.”

As with any athlete whose playing career is ending, these three hope that when others look back at their careers, people will recognize not only their accomplishments on the field, but also the impact they had on their teammates.

“I want to be that player that the AD (Athletic Director) uses as an example and other coaches talk about,” states Blanton. “I want them to know that I worked hard all four years.”

As for Miller, “I want people to know that I cared about my teammates and would do anything for any one of them. Being a college athlete isn’t all about sports; it’s about the relationships you build with friends, teammates, coaches, administrators and professors.”

Besides striving to push his teammates to perform their best, Isaac states, “When people hear about J.T. Isaac, I would like them to know I loved to laugh and smile and played every game like it was my last.”