The love of sport starts at a young age and for many it runs parallel to academic aspirations. Balancing between the demands of training and the demands of school is no easy feat.
The determination of the student-athlete and the opportunity to be a part of the journey from elementary school field days to high school state championships inspires us and fuels our passion for sport. The sports seasons of 2020 will be forever remembered in a different light, however, the pride and pleasure of being a student-athlete remain the same.
Learn what Mizuno Athletes had to say about their experience as student-athletes and the valuable lessons learned.
Allie Wilson, Atlanta Track Club Elite, grew up with sports as a big part of her life and found joy in the lifelong friendships. Looking back on her life as a student-athlete, one thing that stuck out the most was learning how to have good time management. Allie remembers, “Being that you have to spend so much time to work towards your goals in sports, it definitely is not always easy to have to figure out how to maintain good grades and being a good student, as well. But once you learn how to plan ahead and use your time wisely it just becomes your everyday routine, and I can’t imagine my life any other way!”
Lessons learned as a student-athlete were similar for Mizuno Swim Athlete, Blake Pieroni. While there were never seemed to be enough hours in the day as a Division 1 student-athlete, the greatest lesson Blake learned was time-management. While he learned to balance it all, he grew a strong sense of pride as he thinks about his time as a student-athlete. “There was a sense of extreme honor and pride in representing my university, and the duty I felt to everyone that came through the program before me to do my very best,” Blake shared.
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, Mizuno Volleyball Athlete, especially remembers how easy it was to take being a student-athlete for granted. “I can truly say after being on 10+ different teams around the world after college, that being a student-athlete at Illinois was the best experience I could have asked for. Illinois sculpted me into the person I am today.” Michelle’s coaches helped her and her teammates become the best they were outside of volleyball because being an athlete doesn’t always last forever.
Looking back, Abe Alvarado‘s time as a student-athlete made him feel like it was a privilege to be able to represent his school in competitions to the best of his ability. For this Atlanta Track Club Elite athlete, that privilege came along with responsibility. “One of the greatest lessons I learned as a student-athlete is being self-disciplined. I learned that in order to perform to the best of my ability in the class and on the track I had to take care of business first. My motto has always been, handle business first then have fun after.” Abe shared.
Tri Bourne, Mizuno Beach Volleyball Athlete, reflected how much he appreciated the opportunity to play the sport he loved while getting an educational foundation to build upon his professional career after graduation. Tri mentioned, “Although it was very challenging for me at times, the experience gave me the tools that I needed to succeed on and off the court. I am now able to be more than just an athlete, which has given me a lot of freedom in my life. I believe that getting pushed beyond my comfort zone was the privilege in itself.” While his experience may have pushed him out of his comfort zone, it made him into the person he is today: a professional athlete, CEO, podcast host and most importantly, a husband and father. The time Tri spent as a student-athlete taught him how to live a well-balanced life all while accomplishing his dreams.
Carley Hoover grew up watching her mom coach a Division 1 Volleyball team. She remembers idolizing the players and thinking that they were the “coolest people”. All she wanted to do was be a student-athlete. When we asked Carley what her greatest lesson was she said, “The greatest lesson I learned was that relationships go along way and they are more important than the stats on paper. The relationships you make are what you do it for and what will last you a lifetime.”
Being a student-athlete doesn’t end when you graduate. Like these Mizuno Athletes, the experiences as a student-athlete gave them many more life lessons above and beyond the sport itself. The memories and lessons from those experiences are what make us stronger and more prepared to handle tomorrow.
Celebrate the journey of being a student-athlete! Share a photo as a student-athlete using the hashtag #StudentAthleteProud. Tag Mizuno on Instagram @MizunoNorthAmerica or on Facebook @MizunoNorthAmerica.
Published: April 2020