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A Future in Sports is Calling

Seniors Tanner Barnes (left) and Brahian Gutierrez (right) will both be playing a sport in college. (Photo taken by Mary Grace Sanders)

Seniors Tanner Barnes (left) and Brahian Gutierrez (right) will both be playing a sport in college. (Photo taken by Mary Grace Sanders)

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There are colleges and universities, big and small, who offer different opportunities for students. Opportunities for scholarships can be obtained through academic achievements, social connections, and athletic skill levels. What a student wants to pursue in college will direct the path they will take. Many students at Brashier are recipients of academic scholarships. However, there are students who get scholarships for their athletic skills.

“I’m going to Wofford on a full scholarship for football. I’ve been playing since I was seven, and I feel that all my work towards it and getting my name out there has really helped me get to where I am today,” says senior Tanner Barnes.

Pursuing something you love takes hard work that later pays off. It is crucial to push yourself in the direction you want to go in for your future in order to keep you on the path you want to take.

“I’ll be playing soccer for USC Salkehatchie. I’ve been playing since I was three for several different programs. They have allowed me to get more exposure [to] new places and people, which has led to me getting recognition, and brought me to where I am today,” says senior Brahian Gutierrez.

It’s never too early to start trying to get your name out. If your dream is to play a sport in college, you need to plan ahead and think about what you can do to make a good name for yourself.

“I’ve been playing basketball for ten years. I’m trying to get exposure by playing in tournaments, going to camps, and practicing every day. I practice no matter [which] coaches or teammates are with me. It’s really about just making a name for yourself,” says sophomore Zach Laird.

Playing a sport at a young age is very helpful, but there’s more to preparation than just getting your name around.

“If you want to play a sport in college, you need to stay in the weight room, [you need to] eat right, and you have to buy an NCAA number if you want coaches to talk to you about registration,” says Barnes.

There are many aspects of building yourself up to where you need to be to be looked at by colleges. If you aren’t in the right physical shape, you won’t even have the chance to play in college.

“I lift every other day, and I do ab workouts, sit-ups, and crunches too. I also play basketball every day. I practice drills, and I have some trainers and coaches who help me out. I try to get [to] the gym as much as I can. If there’s a gym, I’m going to be in it,” says Laird.

While those who want to play sports in college have been preparing by staying in shape and improving their skills, they have also been working hard to balance school and their grades.

“I will be mainly focusing on soccer, but in order for me to keep being able to play, I have to have good grades. For me, this is extra motivation to not slack off on my academics, and it pushes me to balance both,” says Gutierrez.

While playing a sport in college can be a great experience, there are those who believe playing a sport in college is not the path for them.

“I don’t think playing a sport in college is for me. The schools that would accept me for sports are not the kind of schools I’d want to go to because they don’t have my major,” says junior Thomas Kraus.

There are many different aspects of college that students may want to focus on. There are social and academic aspects that will affect their future.

“I don’t want to play any sports in college because it’s too hard and I’m too short. I just want to focus on school because it’ll allow me to have a clear future and help me do the job I want to do for the rest of my life,” says sophomore Trayvon Jones.

People who put a lot of effort into sports but later decide not to pursue them in college do not necessarily regret their time spent on sports.

“I don’t feel like the sports [that] I have played have been a waste of time because I have enjoyed them, and they have been good stress relievers. If someone does want to play in college and they have a good chance, then I say go for it, but I don’t believe there are any negatives to not playing a sport in college,” says Kraus.

Even with a lot of effort, some students wish they had put in even more to give them a better chance at an opportunity to play in college.

“I’m not really considering running in college because the schools I could probably run for I wouldn’t want to go to. Nothing for me has been wasted, though, because it has helped me stay in shape and has taught me what it’s like to be on a team. However, I wish I had run cross country my freshman year because I think it might have gotten me better results that would help for college,” says junior Sydney Pinochet.

A big question is whether focusing on sports in college will be a distraction from schooling. Students know that to play a sport they will be required to keep up their grades, but it may be hard to manage their time with the work levels of college along with all the practice they must put in for their sport.

“If you know you are someone who can’t focus on a sport for a whole year, you shouldn’t [play] because it’ll push you back and waste a lot of time in your life that you can’t get back. I decided to take my harder classes during the spring and summer so that I’m not worried about them during football season,” says Barnes.

Therefore, managing time is a crucial part of playing a sport in college. If you know you are someone who doesn’t do well handling a heavy workload, college sports are probably not for you. However, if you still want to play a sport, you must be strategic in the ways that you handle it.

“Playing basketball in college will definitely be a challenge. It takes up a lot of time both on and off the season because of year-round practices. On top of that, you have to keep up with school because you can’t play in college if you have bad grades. You have to know what you’ve got to do [and] when you have to do it. You have to be committed and know it’s going to be a lot of hard work,” says Laird.

Even though some may focus on a sport in college, they need to have an idea of what they want to do with themselves once they can no longer play. However, if someone has great potential and a great opportunity in front of them, they have to decide what the priorities are in their life and what each choice will lead to in their future.

“This opportunity [to play football] would be very hard to pass up. I love football, and, therefore, want to continue playing it. I know that, when the time comes, I will have to have another plan for what I’m going to do in my life once I’m done with football. This is why I will keep up my grades and not lose focus on anything that could impact my future. It’s a lot to put so much focus into just school and sports, but I will make sure I have fun [and be] social like a regular student as well,” says Barnes.

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