Inside the life of an athlete

Photo credit: Nick Martinez-Esquibel

Photo credit: Nick Martinez-Esquibel

Nothing makes an athlete happier than playing the sport they love, whether it is preparing for the upcoming season with offseason workouts or stepping out onto the field or court to open the season. There’s just something about those sweaty workout shirts, the double practice days and the bruises all a part of the journey to that ultimate goal. But there’s nothing like being crowned league champions at the end of the season.

Most athletes go through their own preseason preparations as they gear up for the upcoming season and Wildcats softball player Amanda Flores is no different. When asked about how she prepares herself during the offseason Flores said “During the offseason I find it very important and beneficial to work out every day. As it gets closer to season I include more long distance cardio because as a pitcher you need to have the endurance and stamina to throw with as much intensity as the first inning.”

While keeping physically fit during season is key, being mentally focused is just as important. Over the course of an athletic season, that can stretch across multiple months and include daily practices along with multiple games within a week, balancing school and athletic participation can not only be challenging, but it also can cause athletes to burnout as long days turn into late nights with school work. For senior shortstop and Wildcat pitcher Cailin Garmon not procrastinating is key for balancing both. A strategy she often uses is “doing a little, a lot.” “Spreading homework throughout the week and not doing it all at one time is almost stress free,” Garmon said.

The highs and lows during a playing career ranges from injuries to sitting the bench for long periods of time. For sophomore Wildcat basketball player Marvin Timothy that low point came last year when he was not playing much. Rebounding from these low points, especially injuries, is a challenge that is not the same for everyone but ultimately makes athletes stronger. “I just overcame it by embracing my role and only worrying about what I can fix” said Timothy, now a starter for the Wildcats.

Many athletes have their own rituals and superstitions that they go through before a game, whether it be saying a prayer or tying their left shoe before the right. Both Timothy and Flores listen to music as something that helps pump them up before games. In addition, Timothy also says a prayer prior to games.

While it’s playing that makes an athlete happy, not playing anymore leaves many athletes wanting it all back. Recent 2016 graduate and former Wildcats softball pitcher Brooke Langeloh said the thing she misses the most is the “competition between her and the batter” she faces. Langeloh, now coaching a softball team in southern California, elaborated saying that she misses “being able to control what’s going to happen next” a sentiment many athletes share after stepping away from the sport.

Whether it be a in a league just for fun or on a competitive team sports provides athletes with many skills that help further themselves personally and in life. Never hesitate, how to work as a team and never give up – these three skills are what softball taught Langeloh.

Working together as a team is definitely a life skill that is necessary in the workplace. “My team is my family,” said Garmon. She attributes them as her “motivation to do better and be a better person.” While it may seem cliché never giving up is an important life skill for everyone athlete or not. As Langeloh pointed out “you can literally start at the bottom and work your way to the top if you put in the effort.”