The pain that a student-athlete has to go through is second to none. Waking up for early lift in the morning. Practice in the afternoon after a grueling day of classes. Mentally preparing for the next day where you have to rinse and repeat the same cycle. Don’t even get me started on homework. With all this on our minds, it is hard to stay upbeat and unstressed about life, but let this be a message to my fellow athletes: all this hard work will not be wasted.
With the fear of COVID-19 and not being able to have a season, some of you may wonder why you should be even trying in the first place. To that thought I say keep getting better every day. We are in a blessed position at St. Olaf to even be able to practice with our teammates every day. A majority of schools don’t have these same opportunities and are struggling to even be able to play the sport they love without restrictions. We have to see this as an opportunity to get better — an opportunity to grow. Don’t even risk the chance of being unprepared because you didn’t do enough now to be ready. Continue to consistently practice as hard as you can and cherish every moment because you never know what may happen tomorrow.
COVID-19 has also brought hard times upon athletes and others, restricting how we are able to socialize with each other and causing us to struggle mentally. To this I say keep your head up. If we are all able to attack this situation with an upbeat mindset and continue to follow the guidelines put before us, we will be back to our normal way of life in no time, remembering these difficult times as a thing of the past. We have to stay strong together, with teammates picking each other up and athletes speaking to other athletes and boosting morale. The more we stay together and help one another, the faster we will be able to get back to what we love in a normal setting.
Finally, to all my fellow athletes, I have one message to share with you: attack everything you do with a positive mindset, whether it be a test or practice, homework or team bonding. We must continue to stay optimistic about the things that are shown to us. The only thing that can beat us is ourselves, so let’s all look to jump into days with a positive attitude. If we continue to think about the negative things affecting us in life constantly, we are only defeating ourselves more and more, day by day.
So stay hopeful. In the words of Coach Kilian, the head football coach at St. Olaf, “Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you were today.”
With finals approaching and this tough school year coming to a close, I just wanted to spread a message of encouragement to athletes, but also to any student reading this. We are almost through this. I believe in you. Just keep your head up and keep pushing.