A student athlete is a student that plays a sport on an official team supported by an educational system. At some point and time, that definition started to slowly change in other people’s minds. When people think of student athletes, they think of someone that always gets their ways with the teacher and never has to do work. They just play their sport and walk around the school knowing they don’t have to work as hard. That’s a stereotype for all student athletes, but no one knows the real deal about how they actually live day to day. From the outside, people see the athlete’s physical form. No one knows their story or their place in life or where their life started. A student athlete’s home is wherever they play. That’s their home away from home, without the voices of the stereotypes or maybe even problems at home. It’s their own home, that they love and work hard for. The place is somewhere secure and passionate and that’s the home base for student athletes.
A factor that triggers student athletes is how much time they have in a day. By the time their day is over it’s getting dark and everyone’s asleep. A typical student athlete, goes to school during the day and either go practice immediately after or they have a 20 to 45 minute time gap. Once they are done with practice usually it’s about 6:30p.m. or 7:30p.m. They still need to head home and shower. They also can’t forget dinner. Lastly, there’s still homework to be done. An estimated time of when all this is done is midnight. The suggested time for student’s to sleep is at least an 8 hour of sleep. That’s less than 8 hours and they need to wake up earlier to make it to school on time. The biggest down fall in all of this is the time consumption between after school and sleep. “When everyone on campus was leaving for summer break, so was I. But my summer break was 10 days instead of three months. Just 10 days after finals we began “optional” workouts. What “optional” really means is that you have an option of whether or not you actually want to play this year. Therefore the majority of the team is on campus during the summer working hard and getting ready for the upcoming season. But these “optional” workouts are only the calm before the storm, because fall camp isn’t optional” (Uloop).
As a student athlete it puts pressure and levels of work onto your plate. Some student’s play for the fun of it and other student’s play for their career. No one can understand it unless they are a student athlete. Tamera thomas ,18 years old, is a basketball player. She has played for Salem High school for 4 years. Basketball is a huge passion for her and has been playing for a total of 7 years. Basketball helped tamera make a lot of friends through all the teams shes been on. Basketball helped her make life long friends that stuck with her through all the rough times of her life.Tamera is very committed to her sport. She practices everyday except for sunday, which takes up a lot of time for her. “I decided to play basketball, because everyone in my family is athletic and I wanted to try a sport to see if i was just athletic as my mom.”
“My mom played three sports and I was just hoping I could play one.” Tamera did track, but track was just to try and help her gain speed and endurance, it wasn’t an actual sport she was passionate about. She kept her grades at an A and B average. She was on a pathway to success and nothing could stop her at this point. Tamera and her mom have been living in Conyers, Georgia all her life, inside a small 1 story house. In the middle of March things changed. Her home was burned down due to an iron that was left plugged in. The next thing she was thinking was where are her and her mom going to go. They needed money to save up for a home.
She didn’t want to put the pressure on her mother about basketball practices, so she quit her high school basketball team. They had to live with her grandmother, who also lived in Conyers, so she could still attend school. One of the hardest moments for Tamera was watching all her teammates go to practice, while she waited for her mom to get off of work to pick her up from school. One thing that Tamera reminded herself of is that everything happens for a reason, and she couldn’t give up on everything just because one thing failed.
Tamera got a call from a family friend who was a coach for a travel team and wanted her to take the spot they had open. They would work with her mom financially. She was on a travel time called Astro Hoops. Things started to look up for her and she knew that great things were to come, sooner than she thought. “One day I made a buzzer beater shot and the crowd went crazy. My heart was beating so fast, because I can’t believe I actually did it” That moment changed her life. A coach from Georgia State called her after the night of the game offering a full ride scholarship to Georgia State. She couldn’t believe she found somewhere to call home.
Tamera worked for her opportunities and found a college for free. The main thing that she was worried about as a student athlete through all of that was her education. A lot of people who aren’t inside that circle don’t know that as an athlete, you won’t make it big if you don’t have good grades. Colleges aren’t just looking for skill, if that was the case, plenty of kids would be in the league. Tamera focused on what was going to take her far in life and that was her grade and basketball. Basketball taught her how to be a great student overall. She had to be accountable for herself. Basketball disciplined her and taught her how to stay ahead of the game.
School work has it’s push in this because no one is saying that student athletes shouldn’t be working like everyone else, but the load is very heavy and they may or may not be on time and the teachers should honestly give them some slack. Student’s work hard to keep their grades up, so imagine how a student athlete feels when their classes are just as heavy as their practices. This is where it starts to take a toll on your personal health. Sleep is a very important factor for any human being. Not getting sleep can affect your physical and mental performance.
It can lead to hurting not only your academic career, but sports as well. As an athlete you won’t be able to focus as well in and outside the class without sleep. Distractions may occur and / or you’re so tired you can’t stay up. This just becomes a negative rolling ball . In addition, student athletes for the most part have practice everyday except for one day. Imagine for athletes that are in contact sports, they take a lot of hits and pressure from other players.
As an athlete, you have a place that you can call home. The basketball court is a home for basketball players that can relax the stress and heaviness they may feel from life. The basketball court has a huge space that makes it seem as if no one can ever fill up the whole room. The brown hardwood floor that the orange basketball bounces on takes up the most space. The bleachers in most basketball courts carry many people. In the gym that i was watching Tamera play in had a section for the students and the upper level is for the parents. “The part that I love the most is feeling the crowd screaming for the team and getting hype for the players, I’ll never forget that feeling.”
Student athletes have many struggles just like any other student. The difference is that they have another level of stress and wok added on to their table and they have to find the time to level it all out. They play their sport to find their place and in life through all the levels of stress. Where they play is their home from home. At the end of the day they have to go home but when they go to practice that’s their home away from home. This home bring them to a point where they feel safe and it affects them by keeping them sane. Student athletes work to be the best and have to reach new levels everyday to get to the top. Tamera knew that education was the only way she was going to be at the top and luckily someone was there to see her hard work. If she didn’t have the grades with her talent, the strive for success, and the passion for basketball, who knows where tamera would’ve ended up. There are things people won’t understand for student athletes. They do work and they do take the time to actually make efforts. It make look easy on the outside to everyone else but it’s not easy. Take a moment a see where you would want to be if the only thing that made you happy was your home away from home.