While being a student athlete could be fun with all the traveling and the opportunity to do what you love, it’s easy to overlook the fact that they’re students too. This means that while they are given the responsibility to earn a trophy for the glory of UC Irvine, they are not excused from having to endure the very works that most Irvine students dread.
Starting pitcher and graduating senior Crosby Slaught was one of the few to have taken on all the responsibilities given to him. The UCI Super Fan christened Slaught as “The Slaughterhouse” — a proper nickname for a pitcher whose changeup can carve the strike zone. However, unlike a slaughterhouse, Crosby showed that his life off the diamond is no mess. Recording a career record of 23-10 at UCI out of 49 starts, Crosby proved his reliability on the mound, finishing fifth in the UCI record books for games started. He also worked to a 3.2 GPA while double-majoring in political science and sociology, leading him to earn the UCI Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
“I was really happy and excited to see that,” Slaught said. “It was the school’s way of saying, ‘we see you not just as an athlete.’ My parents were happy too. It shows that they didn’t send me here just to play baseball.”
Slaught performed well early in his career and forward, but he wrestled with his grades during his first year in college. A biology class damaged his GPA since science was his least favorite subject, but his problems with his academics extended well beyond one tough class. Time management served as his key challenge in his early stages at UCI.
“Just my first year, I had no idea what I was in for, basically just because I never had a baseball schedule like this,” Slaught said. “In high school you go to class every day and just practice afterwards. But now it’s like, ‘I have night class but I have a game’ or ‘I’m going to have to miss four classes because I’m going to Texas,’ and so it was just a struggle first time to balance it.”
But after being baptized under fire into the life of a student athlete, Slaught understood that the difficulties he faced his freshman year was something he had to go through in order to learn how to set his priorities. From that point on, Slaught saw his time management skills improve each year. There were times when his newly developed skills helped him with his work, but he also had moments when he found ways to get his work done in the midst of inconvenience.
“At times [time management] was pretty good,” Slaught said. “I got pretty good at writing papers in a short amount of time. If I wake up at 6 in the morning, I can just whip up a paper in just two hours.”
Although Slaught said that his time management skills improved each year, he still found great difficulty getting work done on the road.
“I had a hard time studying on the road,” Slaught said. “Studying in a hotel room is so hard. I remember when I was writing a paper while everyone else was just joking around, watching TV and playing video games.”
Studying on the bus or the plane was not an option either, as Crosby was prone to motion sickness if he attempted to do so. Moreover, he didn’t like doing his work before a game, preferring to relax before taking the mound. But after his games, Crosby found focus while working on his assignments and studying. He would head back to his hotel room, turn on some music, then turn his back to the TV and his roommates in order to get his work done. If the hotel had a business center with Internet access, Crosby opted to study there where he was away from distractions.
“You just got to find a place where you can get it done and be away from people who are not studying or don’t have schoolwork to do,” Slaught said.
Currently in his second to last week of his college career, Slaught is looking to stay in baseball — as an agent. He is looking to intern at a sports management company to test the waters of his possible career choice. If he wants to continue, he hopes that his political science degree would help him in his attempt to attend law school. Even if he decides that this path may not be the right path for him, Slaught is still glad to have been a political science major.
“I’ve actually enjoyed political science,” Slaught said. “I wasn’t super knowledgeable about politics. It gave me a better understanding of the government and how the world around me works. It also made me more aware of what’s going on in our country.”
With his final baseball season already over, Slaught found entering a new life without baseball bizarre.
“It’s only been a week, but it’s definitely so weird not having to go to practice after class. I just have four hours to do whatever I want. It’s weird.”
Slaught is also experiencing the commonly shared anxieties about the future, unsure about what path lies before him after he graduates.
“[It’s] definitely weird to leave Irvine, it has become a home for me,” Slaught said. “I don’t know what’s happening but it’s exciting. I’m a little nervous because I don’t have a job. I don’t know where I’m living next summer.”
Even if he is uncertain about what the future holds for him, his UCI Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award is proof that he can be a competent and successful worker wherever he goes.