I had the privilege to play sports in college. It’s not something every student gets to do and that is why it is a privilege.
Mercer men’s soccer team headed to Michigan the end of last week for the District Championship and a chance to qualify for the National Championship. (Unfortunately they lost.) At their final practice before they headed out I recorded their captain (an amazing young man and leader) give a speech to his team. I was so moved and so impressed with the maturity of this player. He gets it.
He said it’s not pressure we have but privilege. And he described the many privileges they have: a chance to train on this beautiful field, a chance to travel the country playing the sport we love, the privilege of having a place to sleep and warm clothes to wear. He covered a lot and it was impressive.
Being an athlete is a unique experience. It’s like your own fraternity or sorority as you spend so much time together with your team. It’s like a job because you spend so many hours and days training. But it’s still a privilege.
You get to represent your school each time you put on that uniform. You help represent your school when you travel to competitions in other states and across the country. You get to travel through your sport. In college (besides NJ, PA, NY and DE) I got to travel to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
You get to train at great facilities which even if things could use work here and there they are still pretty nice places to practice at every day.
You get to bring attention to the school. Sports is one of the most marketable parts of a college. Your performance can lead to more coverage of your team and sport which further helps put your college on the map.
You get access to an athletic trainer or trainers that can help you recover from any injuries. You have access to a department that helps you with things like academic advisement, publicity (sports information) and many other things the average college student wouldn’t have access to.
Being a college athlete is a privilege and one I know I appreciate even more years later. I realize how special it was. I realize how special I felt being an athlete on campus. Now track and cross country are not the sports on campus every one talks about but you gain a little swag since you’re part of a team.
It’s a privilege. You get to continue doing a sport you love. To continuing playing a sport in college (especially for non-scholarship athletes) means you love the sport. College athletics is a huge commitment, it’s intense and hard and difficult to balance sports and academics.
If you embrace the privilege of being an athlete and recognize the special situation you are in, then you will thrive and enjoy every minute of the ride. You will find a way to push through because you love the sport you play so much.
Back to Mercer’s captain talking about privilege. He said “let’s use this privilege to make something great.”
Athletics may not be the privilege we are all given but maybe it’s a job we are really good at it, or an academic scholarship, or an internship, or a select group to be on. Whatever your privilege is, use it to be great. Privileges aren’t given to everyone, they are earned. So find yours and use it to be great.
#collegeathletics #collegeathlete #privilege