Pope: Students, student-athletes not that different after all

Keegan Pope

Keegan Pope
Keegan Pope

They roam campus in green and gold, often walking gingerly after a long day of practice. You’ll see them on foot, bikes and even riding tandem on mopeds. They carry backpacks with their school’s name on them and are more than likely wearing a pair of Beats by Dre headphones.

They’re Colorado State student-athletes, and to many people’s surprise, they aren’t that different from you and me.

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Sure, there are differences. Instead of working at Krazy Karl’s, interning at a local business or working at the student newspaper, they spend their time outside of school practicing, conditioning, training, competing in their sport and preparing to do it all over again.

While many students are spending their weekends at concerts, house parties or taking in the scenery of the Front Range, they’re likely craning their neck through the dim light on the team bus to read their overpriced textbook in hopes of cramming a little more information into their brain before Monday’s test.

So yes, you aren’t all exactly the same.

But you do have a lot in common. Like many college students, they work to put themselves through school. According to the New York Times, the average Division I athletic scholarship is worth $10,409. Assuming they work 40 hours per week during the nine months school is in session, which doesn’t include mandatory summer workouts, the average athlete makes just under $6 an hour. That doesn’t sound too different from what you’re making as a host or hostess at one of our many local restaurants or what I make as the sports editor of the Collegian.

Just like them, you can never find enough hours in a day to get everything done. Between work, school and extra-curricular activities, there usually isn’t even enough time to get a good night’s sleep. We all know what that’s like.

However, the point of this isn’t to talk about how great athletes are or bemoan the amount of school work we’re given, it’s to connect our University. Student-athletes and their peers share a common bond that few of us will ever share with professional athletes. Most of us won’t know what it’s like to live in multi-million dollar mansions, driving around sports cars and attending movie premieres. But we all know what it’s like eating dorm food, hustling through the plaza between classes and staying up until three in the morning to finish a paper the day it’s due.

So make a connection. You see them in your classes, around town and even on campus. Stop and talk to them about the game you went to. Invite them to a study group. Show them that you care about CSU athletics. From personal experience, they’re all pretty cool people.

And athletes, do the same. Don’t isolate yourself from your peers in classes, instead invite them to a game or a match or a meet. We’ve all been in a class where a student addressed us before class about some club or organization. Do the same. Build a relationship, and you’ll begin building a fan base. I guarantee a win means so much more when you know the people you’re celebrating with.

Colorado State University is home for all of you and it’s time student-athletes and their peers started acting like a Ramily.

The Pope has spoken.

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Collegian Sports Editor Keegan Pope can be reached at kpope@collegian.com and on Twitter @kpopecollegian.