By Carleen Surrena
A day in the life of a student-athlete can be demanding. It can vary on any given day.
Wake up, breakfast, go to class, grab a quick snack – preferably something healthy – go to practice, and go to work.
Once home, it may be late, but the athlete still needs to study, and get a balanced meal to stay in shape for competition. If it’s not too late, maybe a shower and finally, bedtime.
Morning comes and it’s back at it. Wake up, breakfast, class, today there is a game so the job, which pays for school, is not scheduled.
If it’s an away game, get on the bus, go play, get back on the bus, travel back to school (where your car is) and drive home.
By now its 10 p.m. (depending on how far away home is) and there is a test to study for.
“Being a student-athlete brings a lot of responsibility,” Las Positas College women’s basketball player Erika Duarte said. “You no longer represent yourself but you represent your school.”
A typical student may wake up in the morning, skip breakfast if there isn’t enough time, go to a couple classes, maybe go to their job, and come home after to study or relax.
No worries about missing a class if there is a game, no worries about scheduling class around practice and no worries about getting enough rest to compete the next day in a game or have enough energy for practice.
Roughly 200 student-athletes represent the athletic program at LPC and balance their lives on a daily basis. The mission statement posted online under the athletic department states its commitment to the student-athletes “on and off the field.” The athletic department wants to help students pursue their educational, career and personal goals along with sports.
There are nearly 27,000 men and women student-athletes in the state, according to the California College Athletic Association. That’s only in California.
Las Positas College plays host to a small percentage of those athletes. With only five sports on campus, LPC is a small fish in a big pond.
That doesn’t mean that the athletes have it any easier when it comes to sports and school. It may be a community college but it is time to enter into the adult world. There are no sports scholarships at this level so the athletes have to figure out not only their class schedules, practice and game schedules, but also how to pay for the classes they are required to take to maintain a spot on their team.
“My coaches are very supportive,” LPC men’s basketball player Keith Hunter said.
Hunter says his coaches let him know of places like the computer lab where students can get work done if they don’t have the resources at home.
These athletes also need counseling to get the classes they need to graduate.
Counselor Joel Gagnon gets a lot of athletes pointed his way, but all of the counselors step up when necessary.
“We try to set up extra services for the student-athletes during peak enrollment and other times over the summer,” Gagnon said. “All counselors chip in and try to make extra availability in the times they need it most.”
In his book “Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Exploiting College Athletes,” Walter Byers, the first executive director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) stated that, “The NCAA developed the term ‘student-athlete’ in order to insulate the colleges from having to provide long term disability payments to players injured while playing their sport.”
Regardless of the reason for the term, tomorrow those athletes will get up and work their way through another day of school, practice, work, study and games.