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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

How dedicated are Carleton DIII athletes to their sport?

< student-athlete at a Division III school means a few things. One, you are not being paid by any athletic scholarship. Two, academics are a main priority. And three, you play your sport because you love to, not only because you’re good at it. Depending on the sport, in season, student-athletes can miss up to ten classes in a term and spend up to 25 hours during a week on the field or in the gym. This takes away countless hours that could be spent studying, sleeping, and other essential necessities of a college student. It can get tough. This begs the question, how dedicated are Carleton student-athletes to their sports?

Last week, the Carleton Men’s Golf Team only had four of their nine team members decide to play in the team’s last tournament of the year, the Bobby Krig Invitational. Three of the five that missed the tournament did so because of upcoming tests and schoolwork. David Perl ’19, who represents Carleton on the golf team, admits that “schoolwork here is not necessarily forgiving if I miss class for golf, or, if I am low on time to do work because of golf.”

His coach, Jerry Erickson, stresses “that golf should not be the most important thing for us at Carleton. He outlines that our health and family should be our top priority, followed by schoolwork, and lastly by golf.”

Sophomore tennis player Aaron Goodman does feel obligated to be at every practice, match, or team lift, but understands that academics here at Carleton come first. “I definitely feel obligated to be there,” he said. “But the reality is if it is a question of either going to practice or turning in an essay or homework on time, it is expected that the schoolwork will always come first.” Goodman also summarizes the overall consensus that the pressure to be at every game and practice is primarily internal. He said, “Most of this is internal pressure but our coaches and captains stress that keeping up on work in order to make it to nearly every practice and game is a part of the commitment to the team.”

Some student-athletes, such as baseball player Josh Small ’20, don’t feel like it is too much of an issue combining athletics with Carleton classes. “Missing class definitely adds a little stress in my life because of all the work I have to make up,” he said, “but it is totally worth it because I get to go out play with some of my best friends. Baseball is a great break from my school work.” Sophomore volleyball player Faith Skinner ’19 believes athletes shouldn’t miss practice or games because they lose out on a chance to improve their craft. She said, “There isn’t really anyone keeping me from missing practices or games because our head coach really emphasizes putting our personal well being and school work first. However, I don’t because I know missing a game or a practice means missing a few hours on a chance of improving.”

Division III athletes play because they love the game. But who or what do they play for? Perl stated that he played for personal pride and to make others around him proud, especially his teammates. Skinner also plays for those reasons. “I play to improve my playing ability and my personal qualities every time I step on the court or in the weight room,” she said. “I play for my teammates because if we didn’t collectively play for each other we wouldn’t be successful.” Small agreed with those two, claiming he loved to play for and with his teammates, but he also added that he plays for himself, “because a lot of people never thought I would be able to play in college, so I love the feeling of proving them wrong.”

Perl sums up why Carleton student-athletes should be dedicated to their sport. “As I’m sure is true with other sports, golf requires total dedication,” he said. “Anything less than this yields poor results. For me, the best feeling is when our team comes together to deliver a great performance.”
Skinner believes that the more dedicated one is to their sport, the better they are. She claims that she was not dedicated enough her freshman year, and it showed when she was benched during her sophomore campaign. She said, “It is because of this that I am completely dedicated overall now, not just to my personal improvement but also to the improvement of the team. I get my schoolwork done to put in extra hours on the court because I know that’s what it takes to be a good player.”

To perform at the highest level at Carleton, student-athletes must be completely dedicated to their academics and athletics. Those that continue to outperform their opponents can attest. However, if classwork piles up, student-athletes at Carleton place academics as their priority.

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