The Advantages of Athletics

Every morning I wake up to the same loud ringing of my alarm clock, notifying me that it is 4:40 a.m. and time to get up for practice. I always lie there looking at my ceiling and consider staying in my warm bed, but then I think of each of my teammate’s faces, and know I can’t let them down. Being a collegiate rower takes more dedication and determination than anything I have ever done in my life and also takes just the right amount of crazy.
I feel as though this, as well as a passion for the sport, is required for every collegiate athlete. As a college student, you are already at your limit with stress. There’s getting into the classes you want, doing homework that all my high school teachers swore would never be collected (they lied), work, a social life, studying for midterms and finals, avoiding getting a flyer on Ring Road — and then there are the select few people who try to take the stress a notch further and throw in a sport to the mix. Then you can add on extra time out of the day to go to practice, more trips to the laundry room to do wash loads that have less and less “normal people” clothes and more and more spandex, then add a dash of more time showering than you ever thought possible, and being able to fall asleep at a moment’s notice in any place in any position and you have a college athlete.
I know what you’re thinking: none of this sounds too beneficial, but I’m not quite finished. Across the US, college athletes have some of the highest GPAs on campus. They also go on to have higher paying jobs that turn into some of the highest paying careers. Why is that?
Most employers see playing a sport as an indicator of dedication and time management skills. They see it as a benefit to themselves as the employer that their new employee has a great work ethic as well as someone who is able to handle pressure.
I recently landed a job because of my position on the rowing team; the interviewer remarked on the skill and dedication my sport took, and that he would love that kind of drive and passion working for him. But I can already feel most of you turning the page, thinking, “Here’s this girl talking about how sports can benefit you for future jobs and all that other mumbo-jumbo campus organizations feed us in order to join,” but I encourage you to keep reading.
Sure, I can feed you stats about GPAs and employment rates, but that isn’t why playing a sport is beneficial for the college student right at this moment. Being a collegiate athlete has given me invaluable resources. Teammates in college are so much more of a family than teammates in high school.
In college, you are all going through the same stuff at the same time. You all have midterms, take the same classes, eat the same dining hall food and enjoy the same sport. A sport turns from something fun to do after school to a support system or a family. A family that will help you out when you need it.
Whether it be tutoring, or moral support for an exam or just having someone read over your articles for the New U. Whether it be just for fun, or an NCAA ranked team, being able to bond over a common goal, like beating your pesky rivals, will give you a connection with your teammates that you can’t get anywhere else. It is a time commitment, but the investment is worth it, whether you reap the benefits now or in the future. So I urge you to go out and try something you’ve never done. Try intramural, club or even NCAA.
Go and get a little exercise and in the end, gain a family of friends that will be with you in all your victories and struggles. Gain a new set of skills and a new determination to better yourself.

Jacqueline Rosenberg is a first-year biomedical engineering major. She can be reached at jrosenb1@uci.edu.