Makai New Hampshire

Student athletes: Pressures to succeed

Student athletes do not have the perfect life like you think they do. Everybody watches them play in games, but doesn't see the work they put in or the struggles they went through preparing for those games that people enjoy to watch.

Dear Mr. or Mrs. President,

Being a student athlete, I know how hard it is to succeed in any sport, while also working just as hard in the classroom. Athletes that are looking to go to college to continue to play a sport that they love and want to do for the rest of their life have to work 10 times harder to get better every day as well as trying to keep up with all the schoolwork your teachers give you. Honestly, sometimes we don’t have any choice but to play a sport because of a family history of everybody being really good at that particular sport and everyone that saw them play expects us to play just like them or better.

All the pressures aren’t just in the classroom. Sometimes there are pressures in the sports we play. For me in basketball, I’ve always been a top player that everybody wants to beat, so every game I play everybody expects me to outplay my competition. Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on the game because we may have a big paper or an essay due the next day. It can be vice versa. We’re in the middle of doing our paper or studying for our exam/test and we just feel like we can’t do it because the team we are playing the next day is the number one team in your division and you have to win to make the playoffs. It affects all athletes that want to go to the next level with whatever sport they’re playing. We have no choice but to do the work once we’re in high school because without good grades we cannot play or earn a scholarship for college.

I watched a video of Richard Sherman, a football player in the NFL that attended Stanford University. He was talking about how hard it is for a student athlete playing their sport and doing all their schoolwork. He said that everybody thinks it’s easy for us because athletes don’t have to pay to go to the college but that’s probably the only thing we get out of that besides a free education. Also he said he’d love to see a regular student try to take on the schedule an athlete has for one day and tell us how it is for them, trying to switch their classes around their sports practices and early morning practices. He knew that his coach wouldn’t want him to be late to practice for schoolwork. At that same time they want you to stay eligible for the season so you can play. At the end of the day if you go to a college for a sport then you’re technically on a scholarship for that sport, you didn’t go to that school for academics, but they still invested their money in you to be able to play and not fail off the team.

This problem isn’t a problem that I think can be solved but I think it should just be recognized by teachers and whoever else takes student athletes for granted. Most people look at student athletes as people who go to school for free and don’t pay attention in class and only want to play the sport that they came here to play. They also think we have a stress-free life. Some division one colleges are finally paying their athletes to play at their school now but not all of them. I think we should try to get more to start doing that because the kids that go there for a sport on a scholarship may not have the funds to buy stuff that they need to live up on campus. It could be another form of work-study. Lastly, some athletes are really good at certain things school wise but the majors that they want sometimes isn’t possible for them to take on because their athletic schedule is too much for them. There should be a special program for athletes that is adjusted so the specific sport that they’re playing. I hope to be able to play basketball in college, but also pursue a degree that I am actually interested in and be able to do so successfully.


Makai Ashton