Student athletes juggle physical and mental exhaustion, homework

Feb. 09, 2015

Brandon Applehans
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Some people only see the glory of collegiate sports when the lights come on. But sport figures on campus are labeled student athletes for a reason.

Athletes preach that great players train in the offseason. Sports at UCCS require student athletes to train and perform all year round, leaving little time for academics, let alone jobs.

Senior midfielder James Roberts played all four years for UCCS and expressed the intensity of the daily life of a college athlete.

“It’s a physically exhausting day; mentally in class doing homework and also on the field when you want to work as hard as you can,” said Roberts. “At the end of the day, people ask you if you want to do certain things and you really don’t because you’re waking up the next day doing the same thing.”

Two midfielders for the women’s soccer team, junior McKenzie Oliver and sophomore Michaela Mansfield, see similar problems about the intensity of practices.

“For soccer, you just look down at your legs and notice all of these bruises,” said Mansfield. “When you’re sore you just remember that you have to go to practice that next day.”
“Imagine getting hit by a truck, waking up the next morning and having to go to practice again,” said Oliver.

Student athletes travel to games, missing certain classes depending on the length of the road trip. Though athletes strive to make the travel work, the homework does not stop.

“Getting teachers to understand that we will miss class on certain days is the toughest part,” said Roberts.

When the UCCS athletic teams travel, a charter bus is taken to accommodate the players. The bus has plenty of seats for students to bring along their gear as well as homework.

Depending on the opponent, teams set aside time for players to get schoolwork finished.

“We all usually meet in the lobby and do it together,” said Mansfield. “If it’s a day trip it’s hard because you have to do homework when you get back, but if it’s an overnight trip we always meet in the lobby or eating area.”

“When we are gone for a long time, like this year when we were gone for a week, coach made us go down in the lobby and work on homework,” said Roberts. “The fact that he forces us to do it is really helpful. Even when you are forced to do it, you still don’t want to because you’re there for soccer.”

Oliver realizes sports are a battle, but cherishes the opportunity to compete.

“I feel very honored to be a student athlete here,” she said. “I feel like the athletics here has a community and everyone really knows everybody. It’s fun to be a part of something bigger at a school that’s already so big.”