The Reality of Division I College Athletics

Photo by Adam Bouse on Unsplash

For many kids, when growing up we try a wide variety of different sports. From football to basketball. From cross country to swimming. Many kids play a different sport for each day of the week. As a result of doing so many sports and watching the professionals doing the same as you for a living, we develop big dreams. Dreams that we don’t realize would be hard to achieve.
But why do so few people go into professional sports or even Division I athletics in college? This is because the athletes that end up going professional, or to the Olympics, or whatever dreams they have within, begin at a very young age. Yes, you may have started swimming at the age of 4, but the difference is as a kid you didn’t try or push yourself. And there’s nothing wrong with that because you’re a kid, you’re simply enjoying yourself and trying to have fun with your teammates. In the meantime, these athletes that go professional at the age of 7 were doing what you were at the age of 15.
However, even kids who have started at the age of 4 and have been going all out ever since the beginning can end up struggling to achieve their goals or make it on the professional stage. “Why?” one may ask. Well, in most sports there are many things that affect the athlete outside of the court, field, track, or pool. One example is the athlete’s body type. Many sports have a favored body type or a body type that in general performs better in the provided environment. As a result, there are many athletes that surface that are considered as “freaks of nature” because of their abnormal stature that aids them in their sport.
Many kids go through high school being one of the best athletes on their team of whatever sport they happened to choose. In consequence, many of these athletes have the idea that they’re a five-star athlete or a “freak of nature.” But once they leave their town or city they truly see how large the world is and come to the harsh reality that for everyone, except one person in the world, there will always be someone bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter.
In the world of competitions and sports, there is no set way to become the best. And the track that you must take to get to where you want to be may no longer have a train, whether it is because you waited too long and now you’re too old to jump into the game and be successful, or because you simply do not have the physique, or because you simply never got the opportunity to chase your dream and simply never got your shot. Here on Earth, we are constantly comparing ourselves to someone else. Always thinking: I must be better\; I must not fail\; I cannot lose. When in all reality we’ll always have another opponent to challenge our skill and our experience.