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Student-Athletes: Extra advantages or Extra burden?

Football team attending film study in addition to their regular academic and sports requirements. Photo by Kieren Wilson

Football team attending film study in addition to their regular academic and sports requirements. Photo by Kieren Wilson

By Kieren Wilson

There is a lot of special attention given to student-athletes in today’s society, but is the extra attention more of a burden or an advantage? In my personal opinion I would say it is more of a burden then an advantage. The advantages of being a student-athlete here at Waldorf are very intangible and in most cases do not exist at all.

First I am going to start by listing all of the advantages. As a student-athlete at Waldorf I am getting my tuition paid for which relieves my mother of a big financial headache. I also get to use the weight room and other athletic facilities when I please. That however is as far as it goes. There is no Nike sponsor handing out free athletic gear, there is no gourmet chef preparing healthy choices for our meal plans, and we rarely, if ever, will travel out of state to play an opponent and if we do it will be by a bus not a plane. We do not have million dollar facilities or student-athlete dormitories.

At Waldorf what we do have is a curfew, 5:30 A.M. weight lifting, Sunday weight lifting, meetings, random drug tests, and mandatory study tables. As a student-athlete I am looked at funny when I walk around town because I look as if I “do not belong here.” As a student-athlete my every move is being watched and placed under a microscope much like a convict on parole. As a student-athlete I will be randomly taken from meetings and escorted and searched for a drug test. All of these requirements and limitations I am willing to go through to do the thing I love.

At a school like Waldorf being a student-athlete is not glamorous, in fact it’s very knitty gritty. I say this because most of the student-athletes here are taking out loans, working a part-time job, or applying for some sort of assisted living programs. We are not here because we are getting a huge amount of scholarship dollars or because we were promised some huge benefits. A school like Waldorf provides an outlet for student-athletes who had almost no other options to do what they love at a four year institution. There isn’t a packed stadium full of fans waiting on game day or an ESPN crew ready to cover the games. What we do have is pure love and passion for our sports. So no, there are not extra benefits to being a student-athlete here at Waldorf. In fact, there are more sacrifices than benefits, but as student-athletes we are willing to endure these sacrifices to continue doing what we love. The sacrifices we encounter bring a sense of pride to being a student-athlete and for our sacrifices we will be better off as people which is the biggest benefit of all.

In retrospect, I guess one could say we do have benefits regular students do not. We learn hard work, discipline, sacrifice, perseverance, and unity. All tools that will make us better individuals to help us succeed after college. We do not have the freedom of spending our time the way we would like or taking road trips on the weekends, but I guess for this we are better off. These sacrifices are what make us student-athletes. “ If it wasn’t for Waldorf I don’t know where I would be right now or what I would be doing. Waldorf gave me a an opportunity to do what I love,” said Jeffery Heflin junior linebacker for the Waldorf football team. At Waldorf we sacrifice who we our now for what we will become later, in the hopes we will become people of high character and leadership.