Student athlete misconceptions
“Sorry, I have practice”
“I wish, but I have conditioning”
“Nah, I got ball”
Chances are you have heard one of these phrases if you've ever spoken to a student-athlete. Academic sustainability, athletic prowess, adequate meals and social life are some of the personal necessities that must be juggled tirelessly by these students. Yet, the perception of them around campus is very much adverse to this truth as, unfortunately, student-athletes are susceptible to many misconceptions and generalizations.
Because athletes are surrounded by other athletes for the majority of the day, natural friendships occur between athletes, whether they are from the same sport or not. The understanding and commitment it takes to play any respective sport requires similarly minded individuals. Practices, games, eating and down time for athletes are all laid out the same as their teammates, so their best friends are… usually their teammates. For the students that don’t participate in Varsity Athletics, it can be hard to coordinate dates or even meals with a student-athlete and as such, these ‘regular’ students tend to be friends with other ‘regular’ students who share the same interests as you.
Showing up to class dressed head to toe in Versace is an exaggerated but fair statement to make with regards to how the ‘regular’ students tend to dress to class. Not a negative in any stretch, but for the athletes, many aren’t afforded the time to dress up nice and fresh for an 8:15 nursing lab. They tend to be draped in team-color sweat suits, with ripe bruises from 6:00am practice all over their body. Professors too, fall privy to student-athlete judgement, as there are sometimes initial thoughts of a student-athlete being uninterested in the class because they are more focused on their athletic team. However, there are grade standards under the U Sports Guidelines that student-athletes must adhere to in order to continue competing. There is a reason they are called students first!
For the ‘regular’ students aforementioned, it is common to be susceptible to inaccurate stereotypes such as being unathletic. This is not true, as all around campus intramurals are fervently played year-round, the wellness center is utilized immensely on the daily, as well as hockey rinks and squash courts. The reality is that these ‘regular’ students have different priorities for where they wish to invest their time. They can also be just as invested into our scholastic life, societies, part-time jobs, or perhaps even a sport that doesn’t involve representing the White and Blue.
Student- athletes in undergraduate schools such as StFX are in an especially unique position. By being in a small university, it is easier to spot a student athlete by what they’re wearing, who they’re with, and where you find them. Unfortunately, being at such a small school in a small town with a noticeable divide amongst students, the X-Men and X-Women often find themselves playing without a lot of fan support. StFX’s football team has averaged approximately 1/5 of its Oland Stadium capacity in its two home games so far this year. To add to this, the chances of making it pro is already a rarity in Canadian Varsity Athletics. One would be remiss to not acknowledge a student athlete’s dedication to the game. They play because of their passion, the unbridled camaraderie and the deeper spirit of
competitive sport. This ‘divide’ between the student-athlete and the ‘regular student' is one based solely on time constraints and not on the physical attributes of a person itself. High grade athletic ability seems to be the only barrier separating these two societal groups of people, therefore all athlete vs. NARP (non-athletic regular person) arguments should be moot and allow the school to come together as only StFX can.