Eye of the Tiger

Give student athletes the props they deserve

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Give student athletes the props they deserve

BELLA AYALA

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As a high level student athlete, I’ve had people call me things and tell me things that have and will continue to affect me, not only my whole athletic career, but my whole life.

I’ve been told I’m crazy, told that my goals are too big, that I will never make it.

I’m not fast enough, I’m not strong enough, I’m not the right size. I’ve truly heard it all.

When I was younger these words and phrases used to really get to me, but as I’ve gotten older I find it almost crazy and humorous that people would have the nerve to tell me these things when they have no idea how hard I really work and what I really do as a student athlete.

I’ve been told that I’m too competitive, that I’m too cocky, but what people don’t understand is that this is how the sports world has programmed all high level athletes to act.

If you don’t think you’re the best, if you don’t act like you’re the best, if you don’t train like you’re the best; then it’s simple– you will never be the best.

Non-athletes believe that winning is just a natural occurrence and that it happens for everyone, but when you really start to think about it you realize that each competition, no matter how many the number of participants, has just one winner.

Winning isn’t something that just comes naturally, and no athlete has ever been okay with losing, so in order to play at the level where winning feels “normal,” athletes have to work even harder and do extraordinary things to separate themselves from other athletes.

When I was younger I had a softball coach who would constantly tell my teammates and I to act and carry ourselves like “one percenters.”

Only 1 percent of all softball players will actually go on to play NCAA Division 1 softball.

An average of just below 2 percent of high school athletes will go on to play their sport at the Division 1 level.

With such competitive statistics, the odds are really stacked against us, but people think that athletes have it easy because maybe, just maybe, if we work hard enough we can earn an athletic scholarship.

People glorify the life of athletes too much, our sport is a full time job, on top of going to school and having to keep up our grades, so colleges will even consider investing in us.

I have and continue to sacrifice everything for sports. I miss out on events I would like to take part in, hanging out with my friends, my family, vacations, everything and anything. But it’s all worth it to me.

Knowing that one day all my hard work, my grit, my determination will all pay off, it’s worth it.

I know that no feeling will ever compare to the satisfaction I will feel when it’s all over and I realize I did it.

So yeah, maybe I am crazy.

About the Writer
BELLA AYALA, SPORTS REPORTER

Bella Ayala is a sports reporter for Eye of the Tiger.

This is Ayala's first year, she hopes to become a strong reporter and make an impact on the program.

In her free time Ayala enjoys playing competitive softball and basketball.

Ayala is known by her friends to be competitive and ambitious.

[email protected]

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