i Collegian Athletics and the Benefits within Them | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Megan Fabel

Collegian sports not only enhance a student’s responsibility for themselves, but also are a great way to learn the meaning of community, and overall are a positive experience for SNC. Throughout my years of playing sports, I’ve learn many values that being on sports teams have taught me; such as responsibility, time management skills, and a sense of community within my teams. Zak Ivkovic, the executive director at CUNY Athletic Conference states in one of his article: “As someone with 20 years of intercollegiate athletic experience, I take special offense to the notion that you see Division III as a “downgrade.” In fact, Division III is an upgrade in the intercollegiate athletics world since we are the closest thing to doing it right, from an amateur perspective. Our student-athletes attend college in order to receive diplomas, and in the process enjoy their athletic participation “for the love of the game,” which makes them richer for the experience”. Student athletes in DIII schools don’t feel the pressure from the outside world and the stress that comes along with playing in the “big leagues”, so to speak. They get to enjoy the sport for the love they have for it and the players still pick up the same life experiences as they would if they played at a more competitive level. Being on a sports team may have its downfall at times, but overall I think has many more benefits that drawbacks, especially because student athletes are getting more than just a team feel for the game, they get a sense of community and learn responsibility, even if they aren’t playing in the NCAA.

Athletes learn responsibility when creating time for academics and developing time management skills along the way. I learned to manage my time with sports because they took up a lot of time and balancing my academics was just one of the things that needed to get balanced with my time as well. In my sports career, academics were always put first before sports. So if I wanted to play, I had to manage my time and do well in school before I could see the court. At SNC, we make sure to take the time to acknowledge that one’s school work comes before playing time as well. Bridget, a peer of mine states about time management that: “They have to plan out their time so they can get their school work done and have time to do other things like eat and sleep. You can’t drink during the season or you will be kicked off or punished.  You have to choose wisely on all the decisions you make”. She also brings up the topic of drinking. Students that choose to participate in drinking while being on a sports team not only risks their future career, but also the team their on as well. Learning to be responsible with not only time management but also with drinking are just a few ways to become responsible while being on a collegian sports team. Another reason why collegian sports are a positive outlook for SNC is that you can also make friendships that can last a lifetime; really giving the sports a community feel.

Students can create friendships from the teams they are on and overall get the family feel. Bel, a student athlete and also one of my peers in class states: “By playing on a team with others you have to develop a sense of love, understanding, and connectivity between you and your teammates”. SNC treats the collegian sports as a positive outlook because of all the wonderful things it brings, especially because our sports teams at SNC are rounded with kids from all over the world. We have a girl from Sweden on our women’s hockey team and girls from Canada on the team as well. SNC provides students with the opportunity to expand their friendships and to create community within their sport teams.

One of my peers who were very athletic in high school, Cecillia, acknowledged that there is an argument to making friends within collegian sports: “You have a good argument formed, but you also forgot how when you are on a team you are only around those select people. You never branch out and meet other people. You may not make other friends from other groups. So if you do not make the team again the following year you may not have friends. You need to branch out and join other groups as well so you can have a backup plan”. Sure, I understand her point, but I do know from experience that students form friendships outside of just their teams because I’ve seen it first hand in classes and around campus, that there are several ways to meeting people that don’t have to do with just meeting friends on sport teams; I’ve met my friend K.J. through FYE and she is a member of the women’s hockey team here at SNC. And I’m sure I would have never met her if it wasn’t for the opportunities this college gave me to meet friends outside of sports. Another way collegian sports are a positive experience for SNC is it keeps students happy and healthy while they are at college.

Collegian sports also help keep the body functioning at a healthy rate and are just an overall way to keep active and strong, making it a positive experience for all ages. Cecillia also makes a comment that: “Practicing everyday helps you to work out and keep your body in shape. Playing a sport means keeping up with your fitness even in the off season so it can help you to maintain a healthy life style”. Collegian sports make sure that their players are healthy and have a strict diet and workout schedule. Keeping in shape advances their playing skill and keeps them ready for every game they have. This is just another way that SNC can make a positive impact for its students when dealing with the topic of collegian sports and the positive effects it has on students.

One would argue that stressing a student’s health habits can also have some negative effects as well.  Like someone could argue that the use of steroids and getting too muscular can also be bad for your health. There are also many stressors that affect a college athlete that includes having to look a certain way to meet the standards for a sport; or having a coach pushing their athlete to have bigger muscles or to look thinner, all just to win. But I can strongly say that here at SNC, that students aren’t pressured to be the biggest or strongest but to play as best as they can. I personally have never seen a student that is stressed about how they look just because of the sport, but I know that at some higher level division schools that that can be a big factor in collegian sports, just not here at SNC. At SNC, we also have great food and nutrient staff to help students maintain a healthy lifestyle while being in a sport. So SNC really encourages their students to stay healthy and active and by doing that in a positive manner.

Collegian sports can also teach young adults different life values that one can take with them in their future. Over the course of students sport career, they can pick up on life lessons that can be brought with them and used in their futures.  Nolan, one of my peers states that, “College sports teach young adults values of sportsmanship, hard work, dedication, along with many values”. I think this is a huge part of growing up and having a sport background in your life. Although you can learn these traits in different parts of your life, I think learning them through sports is a super easy way to pick up on them without really thinking that you are learning them. One could also argue that growing up with sports could allow someone to become super aggressive and competitive. Yes, one adapts those traits with being on a sport team but I think that if someone would want to be good at something, that a little competitiveness will only excel someone in whatever they are pursuing, may that be at school or in their line of work, etc. Being competitive and having the will to work for something, in my eyes, only allows someone to excel in the thing they are pursuing. I think it is healthy and from personal experience, those two traits have gotten me to where I am today. I think that it is something that can be super helpful, when used in the right manner. I don’t think it can be a bad thing.

So in conclusion, being on collegian sport teams can not only make someone competitive and aggressive with things (in a good way) but it can allow one to make a strong community and close friendships, along with learning time management skills and learn the responsibilities of being a part of a collegian team. So overall, it really can only be a positive influence for one to be a part of a collegian team, especially at SNC. Being on a sports team may have its downfall at times, but overall I think has many more benefits that drawbacks.

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