Nobody here cares about sports.You’ve probably heard someone on this campus say that before. In fact, you may have even said it yourself. (In that case, though, why are you reading the sports section?)
But as my career as a UR student athlete winds down, I’m here to declare that, yes, some of us actually do care about our school’s athletics.
I’d be speaking in hyperbole to declare that “nobody” cares about sports at UR, but, that being said, there is a lack of enthusiasm for athletic activity on this campus. With this in mind, I’m fairly certain that the impact college sports can have on students here is highly overlooked.
It’s common to hear graduating seniors say that they couldn’t imagine college without being on a sports team, and, as my own graduation nears, I’m absolutely feeling this way. Pretty much everything I’ve done in the past four years has been influenced by being on the varsity tennis team. My class schedule, my friends, how I spend my free time—even my eating and sleeping habits—all have been shaped in some way by my sport. When something influences your daily life so much, it is hard to imagine what it’d be like if it wasn’t there.
So, as I play my final matches, the emotions involved are mixed.
Will I miss being a college athlete? You bet. But at the same time, I’m supremely grateful that I’ve gotten to participate in something so special. It’s easy to lose sight of how great us college athletes have it, especially at the Division III level. We get highly qualified coaches, terrific training facilities, knowledgeable athletic trainers, and a supportive administration, all at our disposal as we practice and play the sports we love. We even get to travel around the entire country, competing against other athletes.
The best part of this deal? All we have to do in return is do what we love. Sure, it’s not always fun waking up early for practice or working out after a long day of classes, but, when it comes down to it, Division III college athletics is essentially school-sponsored fun.
I’ll readily admit UR is not a big-time sports school. But that doesn’t mean sports don’t matter here.
In fact, when I look back on my four years here at UR, most of my memories aren’t going to be from studying for a test or taking notes in a lecture hall. Maybe they should be, but I presume that I’m far from alone in acknowledging that, when all is said and done, I’ll look back on UR and think of days in the gym or time on the court interacting with teammates and coaches. I also don’t think I’ll be alone in feeling no regret about it. Maybe I missed having a more typical college experience, but after four years of playing college tennis, I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten to play here, and I wouldn’t trade these experiences for the world.