Are college sports worth the effort?

Sept. 10, 2013, 6:22 p.m. | By Sarah Trunk | 10 years, 7 months ago

First semester senior year is perhaps one of the most stressful times in a high schooler's life, because everything is all about college: college visits, college choices, college applications, college everything. Seniors have to step up to a new level of responsibility and professionalism, and, for some, this can include a new level of sports. Playing sports in college can be a huge commitment, but it's really only worth it if students are fully invested in the sport.

Senior Neil Gahart believes balencing academics and baseball in college will be manageable.  Photo courtesy of Samuel Pinczuk.

College sport recruitment typically begins junior year, when the athlete in question contacts the coaches for the schools that they're interested in, usually by email. The athlete will give the coach information about their stats, height, weight, grades, etc. Then, coaches will attend showcases where they can observe potential players during a practice, and if the school is interested, they'll contact the athlete.

This is what happened to senior girls' varsity soccer captain Delia Trimble, who has committed to play at Temple University next year. For Trimble, soccer is extremely important, so it was a pretty easy decision to play in college. "Soccer is what I'm the most good at. Everyone has the one thing that they can do really well, and I've made a lot of friends and met a lot of cool people [playing soccer]," Trimble says. Playing sports in college is a big deal, but will allow her to pursue her interest at a higher level, and really develop as a player.

Playing sports in college is also a big decision for most student athletes because they will have to balance challenging college academics with challenging sports. Senior and baseball player Neil Gahart is optimistic about handling school and sports. "Time management is going to be a huge thing, but I think it will really help me later," he says. Learning to deal with the huge amounts of responsibility is certainly a useful skill, and one that could definitely help college athletes in almost any field they decide to go into after they graduate.

Sports will be a lot of work, with up to twenty hours of practice every week, according to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) mandated rules. Weekdays will be taken up with long, hard practices, and weekends will be filled with games. Some players work even harder, more than doubling the twenty hour limit "during the [football] season and athletes in a half-dozen other sports indicate they, too, are putting in the equivalent of full-time work weeks," according to an article in USA Today . This time commitment, combined with normal college classes and homework, will be a lot to manage, especially if a student is not that interested in the sport.

Unlike Blair, where sports are more relaxed, playing in college is more goal-oriented and intense. "It's not so much about the social aspect. It's a lot more demanding and requires more effort," Trimble says. Still, both Trimble and Gahart are excited for the opportunity.

Colleges are not oblivious to their students' needs, and they will definitely be able to offer help to students struggling to keep up, but students will still have to put in a lot of effort. Trimble is confident that she'll be able to handle time management, with a little assistance. "From my visits, I got the impression that student athletes are really supported, and there are a lot of good opportunities for getting help like study groups and tutoring, but it'll be hard to find a balance," she says.

Playing sports in college is a huge commitment and a huge responsibility; however, if it's something that a student is truly passionate about, it can be an excellent opportunity to mature and grow both as a player and a person.

Tags: NCAA Blair Athletics Neil Gahart Delia Trimble Blair Baseball College applications College sports Girls' soccer Seniors Student athletes Temple University Time management USA Today

Sarah Trunk. Hello! I'm Sarah, and I'm one of the managing editors for SCO this year. I like writing about things and reading mystery novels. Enjoy our site! More »

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