By Brett Cook
Feature photo by Robert Gale.
(Tarpon Springs, Florida) It doesn’t matter if it is division one, two, three, NAIA, or even junior college to know that college sports are a big deal.
What is awesome about college athletics is that every sport from the main ones such as football and basketball, to the less talked about sports like swimming or golf, bring enthusiasm from many around the school and from fans everywhere.
The most untruthful statement that is heard is that only D1 sports are important. But from personal experience of going to different sporting events from every division and talking to friends from D2 and D3 schools, that statement couldn’t be any more wrong.
Even though these lower division schools do not get much of the hype, the athletics mean as much to them as if they were a highly notable school.
A few years ago, I attended a golf tournament that was for D2 schools such as Saint Leo, and I was so amazed of how many people came out and supported. There were people with signs, people doing chants, and vendors everywhere. It felt like a real PGA tournament and it was an awesome experience.
This just shows that a sport like golf, which is not that popular or exciting to most people, can bring so much support and excitement even from small schools.
Exposure and Excitement
Academics of course are the number one priority in every school, but what people don’t understand is that sports are what makes most schools who they are. They give the school bragging rights and gives students something to look forward to throughout the year.
When the school’s sports do good, it helps the school get more exposure. This ends up causing more people to start talking about the school and spreading the word around.
Surprisingly, this helps the school bring in more students to enroll and more attention to the media which is always good in today’s society.
As many college students know, school can be stressful and get boring fast. But when sports are happening, this kind of gives students a way to “let go” of everything and bring some excitement into the school year.
What is even more exciting that you see nowhere else is when it is rival week in college sports. This is what brings the school together on a whole different level. It becomes more than just a school community; it becomes more of a family atmosphere.
More Credit to Athletes
College sports are so important because what it brings to the athletes. College athletes should be praised a lot more for what they do throughout the year.
These athletes, no matter what sport they are playing, must train and play their whole season, while keeping up with their school work which can be very stressful as every college student knows.
But for some athletes, sports are there the only way out for them. Some athletes are not the best in school but amazing at the sport they play, and college scholarships are crucial for them to succeed in life.
Opportunities Equals Success
What makes college sports so amazing is how many opportunities it brings to athletes everywhere. There are so many sports and so many schools that if you really want to play, there is always an opportunity out there.
A good friend of mine name Franklin German who played baseball at University of North Florida and recently got drafted by the Yankees told me “without college athletics, I wouldn’t be where I am today and have this opportunity to play the game I love at the highest level. But I also wouldn’t have made so many memories and met so many great people that I will never forget.”
Along with it bringing elite training and competition, college athletics helps improve character in athletes. It gives the opportunity of meeting new people and improving the quality of your life by giving you goals to achieve.
German also told me, “Being a college athlete has made me become more grown up and more responsible than I have ever been. People don’t realize that its more than just the sport you’re playing; it is a life changing event that brings another level of motivation to yourself.”
When these athletes start working hard to get better at their sport, it brings a different type of motivation. It motivates them to not only improve their abilities, but also in the classroom, which makes them even a better college athlete.
It is a sort of chain reaction because if you do bad in the classrooms, then you don’t play. If you don’t play, you lose your scholarship. If you lose your scholarship, then your chances of being kicked out are higher and then you are back to square one.
This type of “chain reaction” all evolves around college sports because it gives these athletes the motivation to better themselves to play the game they love and worked so hard for.
Bringing Support Changes Everything
College athletes do not just play for themselves and cannot achieve any of these goals without the support from the community and the fan base.
When college sports are in action, the whole community comes and supports because they love seeing their city or town do good and make a name for themselves.
Tom Wibirt grew up in small town in Michigan and was one of those fans who went to every sporting event he could at Delta College; which is a small local community college where he lived.
“I didn’t even have a kid on the team, I just went because I love to watch and see the excitement college sports bring to everyone. It didn’t matter if it was basketball, baseball, or even volleyball to bring me out to support. I just loved to go support the community and show these athletes they’re doing a great job” says Wibirt.
Anyone who is a college sport enthusiast knows what these sports bring and how entertaining they truly are.
It is crazy how much emotion and the importance college sports bring to fans as well. Being a huge college fan myself, things get heated to the point things get broken and tears are produced. The emotions run high throughout the whole season and it is funny because I am not even the one playing.
For some fans, I would say winning is probably even more important to them than the players.
But that is what is so great about college sports! The enthusiasm, emotions, and eagerness it brings to everyone watching at the games or at home is like nothing else.
A Different Campus Atmosphere
These sports give the student body a time to have fun and enjoy school because we all know college is hard enough. It brings the school together like a family, no matter where you go.
Tully Allen, a baseball player from Ava Marie University talked to me about the campus atmosphere when sports are in action and said “everyone just seems to be more connected and friendlier with each other. It feels good to walk around campus and seeing people talking about the games and bringing positive energy”.
What is great about college sports is that no matter if the teams are doing good or bad, the campus will always be there to support. This type of positivity doesn’t just give the players extra motivation, it also keeps the campus going with good vibes throughout.
Keep Things How They Are
College sports are more than just the game being played, it’s a lifestyle to these kids and fans surrounding them. Without athletics, there would be less opportunities, less excitement, and more stress than there already is on students everywhere.
The games being played throughout the whole year, no matter what sport it is, is just as important to fans as it is for the players.
Any level of college sports from Division one to Junior College are opportunities that bring excitement and high competition no matter where you go.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a player or a fan, keep doing what you’re doing because it means more than you think.