We all have our own perceptions of those around us. Just like cliques in high school, the Hope student body tends to have some degree of interest grouping. If you go into Phelps at dinner time, you will often see students sitting together based on athletic teams, extracurricular activities or academic major. There’s nothing wrong with students spending time with those like them, but when this is a student’s main source of social interaction, it can lead to close-minded thinking. Everyone falls prey to this sort of behavior occasionally, but it’s not okay to judge people based on arbitrary stereotypes that come from specific circumstances and pop culture. This year, Voices will be doing a couple of profiles to provide some insight into the unique lives of specific students, hoping to break stereotypes surrounding the different “types” of students who attend Hope. Everyone deserves to be viewed as a person, not a label.
This week, Voices is examining the world of student athletics, specifically the way that the lives of athletes are different and similar to those of students who aren’t on a sports team. After all, almost 20% of students on campus participate in athletics, so bridging whatever gap is between athletes and non-athletes in terms of perception is important for the health of the student body. Darcey Brinker, a sophomore this year, has a unique perspective on this because she is participating in a college sports team for the first time this year. Brinker is a golfer who has played most of her life, but last year she took a break to focus on adjusting to college. This summer, however, she made the decision to join Hope’s golf team. In trying out for the team, Brinker said, “I moved in a week early, and overall it was a good, fun time. Because it was a week before school, and there were only three days of actual tryouts, there was a lot of team bonding that took place.” In the following weeks, she has admittedly been a lot busier than last year, but she is loving being a part of athletics. According to her, Hope Athletics does a good job of providing a lot of opportunities for athletes as well as different groups to get plugged into.
In regards to her social life, Darcey has noticed a significant change from last year. Since meeting the golf team, she has a whole new social group, and she has been going to more things like the new Athletes in Action Bible study. Additionally, she’s met more people who are involved with other sports teams, which has been really fun for her. On the flip side though, she has realized that she’s been missing out on other events on campus during season because she has tournaments on the weekends, but for her it’s worth it. She said, “If you’re not sure and you’re thinking about doing a sport, just do it. If you don’t like it you can drop out, but you get out of it what you put into it.” In comparing her life with and without college sports, she is a big fan of the new social elements to her life this year. Brinker had a lot of friends who were athletes last year, but in being one herself, she has a somewhat different perspective on the athletes in her life. “I guess you don’t realize the time commitment,” she said. “You think of athletes being super social, but a lot of times they’re busy. You don’t understand until you’re in it yourself.”
Hope athletics have been a positive addition to Brinker’s life, and it would follow that a lot of student athletes feel the same way. Athletics is a great outlet for people to make friends and improve their general fitness. Whatever connotations athletics may carry, this is the reality that it creates for students. It demands a lot of those who participate at the college level, and that should be commended. Beyond being a lot of work, collegiate athletics also provides a positive, friendly space for students. If you are not a student athlete, make the effort to get to know the athletes around you; what you learn from them might surprise you.