While athletes are lauded for their physical talents and prowess, they are equally renowned for passion and tenacity in pursuit of their sport. This is particularly true of collegiate athletes, who fully commit to sports on top of an academic workload.
But what happens when an athlete’s passion shifts to a new love? How does a person let go of the activity towards which they have dedicated so much of their life?
Faith Weisbruch, senior English major with a business minor and an American politics concentration, played basketball her freshman year. But she realized that it wasn’t possible to pour herself into both basketball and the classes that she loved so much.
“I just realized, with how rigorous the education here is, you need time, you need a couple hours in the day to sit down and do your reading, and if you’re on the basketball team … it can be a lot harder to balance a social life, a prayer life, and still do well in your classes,” said Weisbruch.
Stefi Taliente, senior business major with a concentration in ethics, set aside soccer after her freshman year. “[Quitting] had its pros and cons, because obviously soccer was my workout … But it was also good because I was … able to do more things and experience more of the UD culture,” she said.
The same drive that allows athletes to sacrifice their time and energy for the sake of their game and team follows them after their athletic career.
“Each stage of pursuing a sport has always been exactly what I need. When I transitioned out, it kinda taught me I can still be this very strong, this very determined person, but I can devote that energy into other things that I’m more passionate about now,” said Weisbruch.
Whether a student’s first love is baseball or Jane Austen, the passion and dedication of all UD students is a common thread that can help to stitch together the athletic and non-athletic student bodies. “I really, really wish there could be more unity between athletes and non-athletes,” said Taliente.
“The coaches work with a lot of the administration at UD, so they kind of know what the UD culture is, and so I think that they can portray that in a positive light. It’s not just people who do school all the time,” said Taliente.
On the academic side of campus, there should be stronger support for all athletes. “As much as I love rugby,” said Taliente, “there’s just a lot of other fun things to watch.”
The tenacity undergirding the common human experience is exhilarating to see on the court. It is also delightful to perceive in the classroom. As a community, let’s allow this tenacity to unite athletes, non-athletes and former athletes.