I played baseball at Chapman my freshman year. I went to the four-hour practices every day, weight training a couple mornings every week, Friday afternoon games and Saturday doubleheaders.
I didn’t have a job, my grades suffered a bit and I didn’t have much of a social life. But those were the sacrifices I was willing to make to continue to play the sport I love. That season, I pitched five innings on a 19-20 team that failed to make the conference tournament. Fifteen weeks of practice five days a week, four hours a day – that’s approximately 300 hours of practice for 15 outs on the mound.
That was my last season playing baseball, but there are so many other student-athletes at Chapman and across the country that put in the same amount of work I did, and maybe even got less playing time but stuck with their particular sports for the love of the game.
Student-athletes, particularly ones at Chapman, don’t get nearly enough credit both in the media and around campus.
When Chapman teams are bad, the Chapman community often looks down on the teams. But what a lot of people don’t understand is that no one feels worse than the athletes. As an athlete, there’s nothing that bothered me more than losing. I did not put in all those hours of practice to lose, but sometimes that’s how it works out. Sometimes the other team is better on that day and sometimes you beat yourself, but regardless of the reason, no team plays to lose on purpose.
It’s fair to be harsh on a team or player that is not performing up to their level of capability, as the goal of all college athletes should be to reach their full potential, but the amount of time the athletes put into their respective sports to do that often goes overlooked.
The average DI football player spends about 43.3 hours per week doing football-related activities, whether it’s practicing, lifting weights, watching film or playing games, according to Forbes Magazine. That is more than a full-time job, and not only are the players not paid for any of those hours, those hours are not acknowledged accurately by their respective universities.
Junior Conner Larkin, who plays on both the football and baseball team at Chapman, said that the hours put in at the DIII level are not much different than DI. Having responsibilities for both football and baseball, Larkin said he puts in between 54 and 60 hours per week for the two sports.
Yet at the DIII level there are no athletic scholarships, and no special treatment in the classroom for athletes. In 2012, DIII athletes had an 87 percent academic success rate, compared to 81 percent for DI, according to the NCAA website.
Being a student-athlete for a year, I saw how difficult it is to have success both on the field and in the classroom, and I don’t think people quite understand that unless they play or are around a varsity or club sport. So, while success on the field is obviously what every athlete strives for, and what every fan hopes for, I don’t think we give our athletes enough credit for everything they accomplish, especially when they aren’t winning games.