Student athletes take time to rest during their off-season, so for dual-athletes at the University of Dallas who are in-season year round, they have an intense year of non-stop commitments. Some of these hard working athletes shared their experiences of playing two sports at UD with all of its challenges, rewards and changes that come with them.
Ronan O’Reilly, a sophomore computer science major, plays soccer as his primary sport during the fall season and tennis as his secondary sport during the spring season. As a transfer student in his first year at UD, O’Reilly has taken on quite a full plate in his immersion to UD, especially since he is new to playing tennis.
As a transfer student, O’Reilly has found it difficult to balance the constant routine of dual-sports with other aspects of his life at UD. He has both worry-free days and stressful days, such as continuing to commit to a two-hour practice despite having two tests the next day. He does believe that his lifestyle is doable though.
“It also puts you in a better state of life,” O’Reilly added. “Ultimately, I do believe you do have time to sacrifice two hours in the day to physical exercise, at least, and still get your schoolwork done.”
As he has found his footing in balancing two sports alongside academics, O’Reilly remarked on the admirable atmosphere of the tennis team and its community. Building relationships with teammates, who encourage him in a sport that is new to him, has been especially meaningful to O’Reilly this year.
“Coming in and being able to build those relationships I think that’s probably been the biggest thing for me at this point,” O’Reilly shared. “Being able to be part of something that’s kind of bigger than me.”
This supportive athletic culture was also remarked on by other dual-athletes. Johny Olmsted, a freshman business major, plays basketball as his main sport in the fall and runs track as his secondary in the spring.
For Olmsted, track and field is a change from the intense, team-oriented basketball season, which is very draining mentally and physically. Track and field offers Olmsted a chance to be outside, which he loves.
“It’s just me against myself when I’m on the track,” said Olmsted, which is a very different notion than the team-to-team competitiveness on the basketball court.
“Being a dual sport athlete adds another degree of difficulty, but also helps me learn how to get through adversity,” said Olmsted. “It’s definitely a tough schedule, but I feel like it’s gonna prepare me for when I need to multitask into the real world after college.”
Olmsted himself broke both a school and a personal record this season in track in the 400m. The original record was 50.03 seconds, and Olmsted lowered it to 49.53 during his first collegiate meet. As one of the highlights of this athletic semester, Olmsted is excited to set new goals and continue to improve.
Tessa Hastings, a freshman business major, similarly plays basketball as her primary sport and track and field as her secondary. Since track was time-consuming in high school, Hastings has taken this year to get more accustomed to the busy life as a dual-sport freshman, as well as the differences in her two sports.
Hastings said while both sports are time-consuming, a typical track meet is very different from a standard basketball game. During basketball season, Hastings’ team would arrive for only their game, but for track and field, it is a full-day commitment and only a small amount of time for individual participation.
Since there is so much anticipation at a track meet, Hastings noticed the difference in the atmosphere and in her personal relationship with other athletes.
“It’s just really awesome being able to see how incredibly talented so many other people are at our school and different schools, just the incredible athletes that are running,” said Hastings.
While there was no season overlap for Olmsted and Hastings’, both athletes remarked on the sudden transition between sports in the structure of the sport and their own mindsets.
“I like it because it kind of helps me focus on my own personal like mental strength,” said Hastings.
Because of the individual competition of track and field, both Hastings and Olmsted noted the welcoming and supportive attitude of track culture, within and without the UD team.
“Everybody wants to see the best out of everybody,” said Olmsted. “Whereas in basketball, I feel like your opponent wants to put you down, you kind of want to do the same to them.”
According to our athletes, instead track and field has a culture of self-improvement and inter-athlete encouragement. Although there is an added level of difficulty in the lives of dual-athletes, they show an appreciation for the cultures and lives within both their sports, making the additional challenges worth the work.