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Student athlete problems

Being an athlete is not all fun and games. (David Munro photo)
Being an athlete is not all fun and games. (David Munro photo)
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the author’s name. The mistake did not appear in print. The Gazette regrets the error.
Is it tough being a varsity athlete? You bet it is! It may seem all glam and exciting but, my dear friends, there are some misconceptions out there about our day-to-day lives that must be addressed. As a varsity athlete myself, here is the inside scoop.

The dreaded morning practice

No one understands and hates mornings more than a student athlete. Classes at 8:30 a.m. really aren’t that bad, because that is when we wake up when we’re sleeping in. We attempt to go to bed early, which never happens because the only time for homework is after practice, but it is tough for us to get the eight hours we need. You see, the fear of sleeping through practice gives us mini-heart attacks, preventing us from actually getting the sleep we need. It is a sick feeling you get, setting that morning alarm. Just sick.

The excruciating pain

We hurt. All the time. Every minute of every day. After a long workout, not sure if we still have legs because they went numb halfway through, we decide to be good students and walk to class. And, behold, there is the dreaded staircase at the end of the hall. There we go, climbing up, step by step, as if the world should just come to an end so we don’t have to face another step. Once it is conquered, at least we have our bed at the end of the day to take the pain away, right? But, do you want to know what happens next? We wake up in the middle of the night with a calf cramp, feeling like we just got shot in the leg. If my body feels like a senior citizen now, I shudder to think what I will feel like in 40 years.

Our obscene amount of food consumption

So, we eat a lot of food. Definitely more than the average human being. We are always hungry and never satisfied. Yup, we average about seven meals a day. And did I mention we eat everything in sight after practice? We work out ridiculously hard, sure, but unfortunately we eat at least double the amount a normal person consumes. It seems a little counterproductive, doesn’t it?

We never, ever, ever get enough sleep

We have something that I like to call excessive nap syndrome. Essentially, if napping was an Olympic sport, we would all medal. We nap all hours of the day, including our favourite spots such as class, walking home from practice and sometimes even on our bathroom breaks. Yes, the toilet is comfier than you would expect. It’s safe to say that this Christmas all we ask for is a good night’s sleep.

We actually attempt to do well in school

There are two types of professors for a student athlete. Either they hate us or they love us; there is no in between. And as much as we love to think we are good at time management, the new playlist on our iPod is much more important than doing school work the night before a road trip. Have you ever sat on a bus for 14 hours with old, awful music? It’s excruciating. To show you that we are somehow educationally progressing through all of this, I shall leave you with an analogy: hell is to pre-season as heaven is to bed. See, I don’t need to be awake in English class.

The awkward meet-and-greet

When you play a varsity sport, you meet a lot of new people and you start to recognize a lot of faces in and out of the sports world. So, when you see another athlete you don’t really know, but you know also plays sports, you say hi anyways. But then there are times after a big loss when the worst thing that could happen to you, happens: interactions with other people. They don’t understand. We don’t want to see you, we don’t want to talk to you, we want to curl up on the court, screaming and crying our sorrows away.

Stress, pressure, fear—AH!  

Do you hate when the OWL website crashes when you are trying to choose your classes for next year? We do, too. We have to schedule our classes around practice time. Then, once we are finally in the class we want, we feel the stress of midterms just like you. Now add conditioning, lifting, practice, strategy, games and treatment on top of that. As if that isn’t enough, what about our social lives? Let’s just say we really don’t have one because we are more afraid of our coaches than cops. But the thing we are most afraid of in this world, can be broken down in three words: two-a-days.

Editor’s Note: Raeesa Lalani, a fourth-year outside hitter on the Dalhousie women’s volleyball team, will be writing periodic articles for the Gazette on life as a student-athlete.

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