It is easy to find an athlete on Hope’s campus, but it may be a little harder to find an ex-athlete. Digging deeper into the reasons why students don’t continue with their sport is interesting, and most interviews lead to one answer: time. The time commitment that sports demand at a college level is a lot more than some people anticipate. Even if they know the time commitment, some athletes are not realistic with how much time they have in a day. Another ommon understanding is that the sport itself takes the amount of time that the athlete originally intended, but the “extras” such as team building that come along with the sport are enough to push some students to leave.
Brian Ellis, a sophomore, explained his reasons for not continuing with “fall ball” (baseball training in the fall). “It was probably three to five hours a day in the off season, so that was really just difficult for me to try to balance that while working and doing school work,” said Ellis. He also pointed out that the time commitment would have been nearly impossible for him to keep up during the regular season. Because of this, Ellis was not enjoying his sport as much as he used to and found himself applauding students who were able to balance sports and work so well. “It’s a great commitment. It takes a ton of time, and I admire the people who can do it. It’s darn impressive, but it’s very difficult to do,” said Ellis. He also pointed out that having to work through college is a large part of time commitment issues for many students. For example, if a student has to work to stay in college, the effort put into maintaining a sport and school work will be much greater. If a student is dedicating most of their time at Hope to their sport, focus and energy will be directed on that rather than work or academics.
Erik Schoonover, a junior, talked about his involvement in lacrosse his freshman year. Schoonover double majors in Geology and Chemistry and has been doing research in the organic chemistry department since his first year here. “My project got a lot of headway the summer between my freshman and sophomore year, so my sophomore year in the fall I started doing a lot more academic research,” said Schoonover. This would mean that he would miss three to four days or practices each week and about four Saturdays out of the season.
With this in mind, Schoonover decided to fully commit himself to academics and stop playing lacrosse. He explains that about four hours of his day were taken up by lacrosse, when he originally thought it would be a much smaller time commitment. “I think a knowledge of the amount of time you’re going to put in before you get into the sport would be nice,” said Schoonover.
He also addresses the issue that Hope doesn’t have any academic events for athletes such as study tables, which he believes would have been useful during his time as an athlete. As with everything, there are ups and downs to being a Hope athlete, and as Schoonover says, “If you love the sport, you should do it, but if you’re not 100 percent committed to the sport then it’s going to be really tough for you to choose the sport over all of the other things that Hope has to offer.” All good things have to come to an end, but these athletes are thankful for their time with Hope athletics.
With this in mind, all students deserve to have commitments to activities that bring out the best in them. For some students this may be sports and for some it may not, but all Hope athletes, past and present, deserve applause for their dedication to their sports, their teams and themselves.