A letter to the conflicted student athlete

The ideas and viewpoints expressed in the posts on the Ideas and Creations blog are solely the view of the author(s). Luther College's mission statement calls us to "embrace diversity and challenge one another to learn in community," and to be "enlivened and transformed by encounters with one another, by the exchange of ideas, and by the life of faith and learning." Alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the college are encouraged to express their views, model "good disagreement" and engage in respectful dialogue.

This blog entry was originally posted in The Odyssey, reposted here with permission. 

Dear Athlete Self,

We are twins. We get in each other's way and grapple with each other for attention. We learn how to grow independently but also realize we need each other to survive. Despite our troubled waters, however, we ultimately love each other and are working toward the same goal.

There will be days where you have priority, and others where I take control. There are days when you will exhaust all our resources, and days where I need more than my share. There are days when we are playing tug of war and neither of us seem to be winning. There will be days when I want to ask another question in class but you silence me so we can make it to lifting on time. There are days when you come back from practice and are utterly exhausted and we don't get all of the next day's reading done. There are days when our seat buddy on the bus won't stop talking to you so I can't focus to study for my psychology test. However there are also days when you don't go to the men's soccer game because I really have to get food before we go study, or you have to miss turf time to meet with our class project group. You sacrifice as much for me as I do for you. Thank you.

I know it is hard to get up in the morning knowing you have a full day of classes, meetings with tutors and classmates, work study, lifting, studying and somehow finding time for eating, sleeping and down-time. Sometimes it's just so hard to get through my part of the day that when it comes to be your time to shine there's just nothing left in the tank. I hope you know I am trying my best and sometimes you get the short end of the stick. Please just know we will be so proud at various parts of our journey together that we can juggle everything and still stay balanced. We have a great support system of family, friends, teammates, professors and coaches who all want us to succeed and many of them have their own inner siblings who they live with everyday. Just know that when I introduce you to other people I will never say you are my evil twin. You will always be my best friend, confidant and the one I go through life with, and for that I am eternally grateful.


Student Self

Annika Johnson

Annika Johnson

Annika Johnson is a sophomore at Luther College and is considering majoring in communication studies or psychology. She is a member of the Norse soccer team and on the Dance Marathon crew. Annika also blogs for The Odyssey and works in the Luther College Book Shop. She enjoys time with her friends, photography and hammocking. Her favorite animal is a koala but the Luther squirrels are a close second.

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  • February 16 2017 at 11:54 am
    Julie Shockey Trytten, LCWS alumna and assistant coach

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Johnny! We're proud of you and all our student athletes, and are excited to see the great things you'll do once you graduate from this place! Keep writing!

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