The alarms go off almost every morning around 5:30 a.m. They grab what they need for the day. Most of the time, they won’t be home for at least another 10 hours, which means that they need enough food to get through the day, clothes for school and clothes for their second workout. To Moby they go for a 6:00 a.m. weights session. After a quick shower and breakfast on the go, it’s time for a full day of class. By the time 2:00 p.m. rolls around, it’s time to head back to Moby for the second practice of the day. After another three hours or so, they can maybe come home if they don’t have to put in time at the Academic Center. They come home, cook dinner, spend hours on homework and then head to bed in order to wake up the next morning before the sun and most of their peers.
They do this willingly, day in and day out, all for the opportunity to represent our University. Whether they are in season or not, our student athletes work tirelessly in order to generate media attention with the final end of accruing revenue for Colorado State. And while it’s true that many of the athletes on campus receive scholarships in exchange for the time that they put in, a lot of this money comes from donors who are interested in contributing directly to the betterment of our athletics department at Colorado State University. Each year, the Ram Good Time Auction is held with this sole intention; this past year, the auction raised $280,000 that will go directly to the funding of these scholarships. I would venture to say that one of the main reasons that our constituents are interested in donating to student-athlete scholarships is because they understand that these students in particular have more of a responsibility and commitment to this University. During their time here, our student-athletes provide a more tangible face to the student-body. They are in the spotlight and are constantly under pressure to perform not only in an athletic capacity, but also academically.
Think about the amount of time that you put into your education, outside of the time you spend in the classroom. Now, imagine being forced to slice that time in half because you have an inextricable obligation to be at practice. Forget about your weekends, because while you’re in season those will be spent travelling around the nation representing our University through competitions, games and tournaments. A social life? The closest you’re going to come to a social life is getting ice cream with your teammates on the odd weekend that you might have off. And would they change it for the world? Not a chance.
Both of my roommates are student athletes; one plays volleyball and the other plays softball. They both work incredibly hard in school and are dedicated to the success and betterment of their respective athletic programs. They not only embody the spirit of Colorado State as students, but they have an obligation to represent the University in a positive manner through their athletics. And while they are students just like the rest of us, it is also true that they have an extra obligation to always be on top of their game. These students don’t have the opportunity to fully commit to either of the categories that they fall into; they can never just be a student or just an athlete. But, they, like many other student-athletes, are constantly exceeding expectations and setting new standards. And, that’s more than a lot of us can say.
While many of them receive substantial financial compensation for the time that they dedicate to their sport, there must be something else that keeps them coming back. Having experienced the blood, sweat and tears of my roommates, I feel like I can objectively say that it’s not about the scholarships or the attention. They do this for the pride, the sense of community and the hard-fought understanding of what it means to truly be proud to be a CSU Ram.
So the idea that student athletes are a myth? I don’t really know how that’s possible. Have you ever been to a basketball game? A football game? Didn’t you delight in the ridiculously successful volleyball season? Win or lose, we all come together in our green and gold at Moby arena or Hughes Stadium and celebrate what it means to be a CSU Ram. And if there weren’t student-athletes out there on the court or field, that would probably we a really weird experience. So the next time you see one of our ridiculously fit and good looking student-athletes on campus, give them a high five and thank them for devoting themselves to CSU and for creating the community that we call Ram pride.
Geneva Mueller admires student athletes and the dedication that they embody. Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many people don’t realize what it really takes to be a student athlete.
They receive scholarships and financial compensation because the dedication and the time commitment is considerable.
Being a student athlete is far from a myth — they’re necessary to the University.