So my post for this week wassss gonna be an in depth analysis of The Lion King, and I was really excited about publishing it: then Firefox crashed right before I could click the go ahead, and so my whole lovely discussion was lost…
I will have to retype my analysis on a later date, when I am less bitter about the loss of an already perfectly edited post.
Instead, this will be the first of a series about what it’s like to be a Division 1 athlete. One thing I’d like to note before the discussion goes any further is that the lives or college athletes are incredibly varied from sport to sport; the tasks exacted from a collegiate golfer differ greatly from a collegiate runner, as do the struggles faced by rowers or football players. However, they have at least one colossal, monumental characteristic in common: they demand dedication. And so, before I go into my own personal experiences, I want to stress the fact that I have enormous respect for all athletes, and that no one sport reigns above others in terms of difficulty or amount of work required. That being said, as a runner, most of this post will discuss college track and field.
- Mornings: My mornings can be pretty much summed up in one word, early. Whether it’s waking up at 5:45 for a workout during the week, or rolling out of bed on a Saturday morning at 7:45 for 8:00 recovery run, I don’t really ever have the sleep-in option many of my peers possess. For me, it’s not uncommon to run 10 miles before half the campus regains consciousness. One Saturday I woke up at 6:30 for a practice, and later told a friend at another college about it, to which she responded, “Danielle that’s just wrong; that’s what time I went to bed.”
- Bedtime: This effect comes straight from #1. Getting up that early means making an effort to go to bed early as well. I usually get to bed around 10:30, and on the weekends if I have a race the next day, you better believe I’ll be under the covers by 10 p.m. on a Friday night. My first semester of college, when I was still a NARP (non-athletic regular person: I know it’s slightly derogatory… we all use it though…), I would go to bed between 12:30 and 1. That time is now a strange, foreign dream.
- Clothing: One very awesome perk about being a college athlete is the free stuff. During the beginning of a season when the new gear gets passed out it feels like Christmas. Nike getup galore! For this year’s cross season, I received two pairs of training shoes, one pair of flats, one pair of spikes, three shirts, two sets of uniforms, a pair of yoga pants, a pair of sweat pants, a hat, a backpack, a travel bag, a sports bra, a tank top, a hoodie, running tights, and a water bottle. And to be honest, what the cross country team receives pales pathetically in comparison with the gifts lavished upon the basketball, football, or tennis teams. With all this free Nike swag being handed out to us, it should come as little surprise that we often tend to live in our athletic gear. Factor in the fact that we have practice twice a day most days of the week, and it gets tough for us to ever find a time to dress up in normal person clothes and look put together. Another effect that my running has on my life clothing-wise: I have to do laundry ALL THE TIME, because to let soaked sweaty shirts lay around for too long is a very bad idea, and I often go through two different workout ensembles a day. If you enter mine, or any of my teammates apartments, you will find a surplus of rainbow colored running shoes next to the door, and in our closets, you will always find at least five sports bras to every one regular bra.
- Random Facts about my team: a number of things that apply specifically to my own beloved Tulsa tracksters.
- We enjoy playing loaded questions and catchphrase. A lot.
- If you have a Garmin, it MUST be on silent. No one wants to be alerted as to how many miles we’ve gone by a pitchy beep-beepity-boop during our timed long run.
- The Caf is a place of team bonding and memorable strange discussions, and while we often “hate” it, the truth is we love it.
- A lot of us live in very close proximity, and we’re in and out of each other’s apartments constantly.
- We have frequent team trips to Yolotti’s for froyo or Braum’s for ice cream.
- Almost everything becomes a team activity. Our team is the closest thing to a family I’ve ever found outside my actual one, and we do a lot together, from movie nights, to trips to the Tulsa State Fair, to Saturday morning brunches, to bonfires, or to just plain hanging out. This doesn’t mean everyone attends everything, but every member is always welcome. We have our bouts of drama or bickering or being annoyed with one another, but at the end of the day we all have each others backs. And to me that’s one of the most incredible things. It’s really priceless.
Some of the lovely TU XC ladies after our beautiful run at Postoak Lodge this morning.