Collegiate athletic teams not only bring in hundreds of millions of dollars every year, but they also ignite a certain level of camaraderie within the student body. Even the oldest of alumni flock to homecoming games and infamous rival match ups all for the sake of their team. The colors they so proudly wear which evoke memories of their undergraduate class united in celebration when victorious. Of tailgates, of championships, of a sense of belonging to something bigger.
The impact of loving a college sports team is obvious, but what sort of impact does playing on one have? And I’m not just talking about the high-energy, competitive fun to be had on the field, and the bonding experience to be had with teammates.
Health & Fitness. And this goes beyond the obvious. College athletes are exposed to and expected to be and remain physically active much more than the average college student. Resources such as physical trainers, doctors, and nutritionists are more easily accessible, thus resulting in better health and understanding of what it is to be healthy.
Social Skills. When participating in a sport, communication is typically one of the most important facets of the game. Being an athlete can help hone your communication skills. Additionally, making the transition from high school to college is a pretty overwhelming experience, but when student athletes are transitioning to be a part of a team, the adjustments are much more seamless.
Support System. Often, college athletes have an excellent support system standing behind them. Parents, coaches, assistant coaches, counselors, trainers, professors. Often going out of the scope of their job, coaches will encourage their players to step it up academically, while professors will wish them luck in the weekends next big game. Creating a mutually supportive academic and athletic culture on campus enhances the experience for everyone.
Future Opportunities. While not everyone ends up getting to play on a professional level, it’s clear that participating in a college sport is one big step closer to doing so. However, the team-building, leadership, and communication skills learned while being a member of a team are invaluable to a myriad of professions. Additionally, traveling to play different teams, and meeting with players and coaches around the country can help develop a solid social network to tap when entering the post-grad world.