My senior year of high school, I was a decent three-sport athlete who loved lacrosse. Coaches didn’t recruit me to play in college, but after deciding to attend Rollins College, a small D-II school in Florida, I had the option to try out for the lacrosse team. I did, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made—although at the time, I didn’t really know how much I had signed up for.
Here’s a fact: collegiate athletes spend 15 to 30 hours each week in practice, training, watching film, team dinners, traveling, games, and ice baths. You wake up at 6 a.m. for conditioning, attend your classes, strap on your cleats for a three-hour practice ending at 9 p.m., and then do it again the next day. If that doesn’t sound like the typical “Animal House” experience people associate with “college,” it’s not. It’s much better—especially in the long term.
Playing a sport in college teaches you how to balance work (practice and games), academics and life. You learn to lead teammates and follow orders from coaches. You and your teammates realize the importance of working together to achieve a goal. The lessons you learn on the field help you so much in the post-college world, regardless of what you decide to do once you graduate.