In a recent sport section, the Hartford paper wrote of a UConn women's basketball player who was "jittery" in her last game and was hoping to overcome being "tentative." Here's the catch: that player, Tina Charles, is a seventeen-year-old freshman, and the last game was her first collegiate game.
How would you like to be have thousands of people publicly evaluating you as a seventeen-year-old? I couldn't handle it as a forty-four year old.
I appreciate student athletes because they work so hard. I realize that other students have part-time and full-time jobs, but few would be as demanding as being on a Division-1 team, at least in season. Their schedule is constantly interrupted by games and practices, and they are expected to carry a full load of classes. How they are not always asleep is beyond me. I realize that some of the athletes are in over their heads academically, i.e., they wouldn't have gone to a school like UConn if not for athletics, but, at least for those in my classes, they don't complain and just work harder to catch up.
Student athletes also live their lives under constant public attention. Above is pictured Charde Houston who, like most the basketball players, has had thousands of words written about her psyche, emotions, background, and all sorts of personal things. That just doesn't seem fair. Even athletes with less visibility are constantly monitored by various coaches, advisers, and counselors.
So, here's to all you student athletes!
Now, get back to work.
(P.S., Tina Charles had 18 points and 17 rebounds in only 29 minutes the next night).