By Alexa Faria
In the wake of the champion season for Simmons College fall athletics, several athletes are preparing for big games or coping with unfortunate losses. This is the time where all of the hard work and time that has been put in can either make a person, or break them.
The mental toughness a college athlete has to have is tremendous. Being present in class, completing assignments, and being focused and physically prepared for practice can be exhausting. The ability to maintain all of these things is a skill that many student athletes need to develop over time.
As the season comes to an end, athletes are faced with challenges that a lot of people may not be able to understand. Playoff games can either be extremely devastating or another step to achieving the goals a team has had all season.
When an athlete steps onto a field, court, rink, track, or into a boat, or a pool, it is a test of mental focus, physically ability, and passion. Knowing that everything this person has worked for is on the line is nerve-racking because the idea that the whole season of hard work can be put to an end so quickly is heart-breaking. When the outcome is positive, however, there is no better feeling.
Participating in athletics can be very time-consuming, but it is extremely healthy in many ways. Not only does the constant training make a person extremely fit, but also it is mentally healthy.
Athletics allow for social interaction along with physical activity, which stimulates brain chemicals that makes one feel happy and more relaxed.
It also allows people to maintain their mental skills. In athletics one is constantly making quick decisions, learning, and using good judgment to benefit themselves and the team.
There was a study done at Duke University who tested 156 people with depression that were randomly assigned to treatment of solely aerobic exercise, exercise plus an antidepressant, or an antidepressant alone. After ten months the exercise-only group had the lowest rate of depression.
An athlete’s self-esteem and confidence is also increased because their strength, skills, and stamina are constantly improving. The feeling of winning a big game, and even having a great practice is unmatched.
The benefits of being an athlete are endless, which is why losing can be so difficult to cope with, and why winning is so addicting. Not only does one improve oneself by participating in sports, but they also make great friendships.
Being part of a team can give a person a sense of purpose. An athlete learns to work with others, compete with others, and to be a support system. In a team dynamic an individual does not play for himself or herself, they play for the team. Win or lose you have people that you can share your happiness with, or your frustration.
When you step off of the field, court, rink, track, or out of the boat, or get out of the pool, there will be people surrounding you to remind you why you were out there in the first place. These people will not let you down, and they will not stop believing in you because they know you would do the same.
As the fall season comes to an end ,be mindful of the successes or failures that people are experiencing. If you are an athlete remind yourself of the accomplishments that you, and your team, made this year.
Remind yourself that there is always next year. If you are a senior, remember the friendships that you have made, because even if you did not win, that field, court, rink, track, pool, or boat helped construct the healthy person that you have become and that will impact you for the rest of your life.