As an avid reader of The Daily Free Press, I look forward to the crossword puzzles, enjoy articles written by friends and find humor in some of the ridiculous police reports. Yet, as a student-athlete, the main attraction for me every week is the sports section. I love reading sports columnists’ opinions, especially Patrick McKay’s column, “Foul Shots.” After almost two semesters and weekly articles of “Foul Shots,” I realized I should take the opportunity to voice my opinions about the column.
Motivational videos are made for one reason only: motivation. In McKay’s article, “No offseason,” his opinion about this stereotypical “workout” video is uninformed. Take for instance Eric Thomas, whose speeches aren’t targeted particularly to athletes, but rather motivating people to achieve success in life. Yes, YouTube contains a lot of videos showing athletes putting in time, dedication, and work in the weight room, but to clump the videos together is wrong.
McKay’s view of “no offseason” as a dangerous “mantra” is an interesting opinion. His article thinks no offseason is an overused phrase by coaches for motivation. To athletes, “no offseason” is more than just words — it’s a lifestyle.
Injury cannot fully be blamed on this idea of no offseason. I do not see how other factors don’t contribute to injury, such as proper stretching, equipment or form. The point of lifting and conditioning is to get stronger so those, as you put it, “gigantic, angry guys wearing body armor,” aren’t so intimidating. Lifting and staying active help prevents injury as well as increases athletic ability. If you don’t believe me, ask Bill Belichick how he feels on taking an offseason.
For those that love what they do, college sports are a chance to continue playing, and so much more. College sports provide an opportunity for those who wouldn’t normally get a college education to receive one. “College athletes are students first, athletes second,” as McKay writes in his article.
Consider the NCAA academic requirements that every athlete must meet in order to stay eligible, not to mention the GPA requirements each individual school institutes, as well as study hall requirements. There is no offseason in being a student-athlete. Off-seasons are dangerous for athletes; they’re a time to get lazy, time to spare, time without routine. Student-athletes have very rigorous schedules — class, meals, practice, workout, film, study hall and sleep. These schedules provide solid routines that help athletes stay eligible, out of trouble and healthy.
To take a quote from one of those motivational videos McKay sees as “wrong,” Emmitt Smith once said, “all men are created equal, some work harder in preseason.” I can guarantee that Jadeveon Clowney’s success did not come from him taking the offseason off. Another “mantra” that coaches use is “hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.” For the athlete that loves the game and wants to get better the offseason is that time to do so. Unless someone was a college athlete they wouldn’t see the “benefit of college athletes playing their sport year-round.” Fans like to watch the highlights on TV but don’t realize those plays are practiced hundred of times in the offseason when no one is watching.
In my opinion, McKay should do more research before he criticizes the mantra — I mean Sundaythrough Monday lifestyle of the athletes he loves to watch on Saturday nights. There is no offseason.
Greg Marzec is a freshman in the College of Communication. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org