Almost fifteen years after wrapping up our collegiate athletic careers, we can both look back fondly at the memories we created and the experiences we had while being a part of a team. Being a collegiate athlete left a lasting impact on both of us as a significant part of our college journey, the connections we made played a factor in each one of our jobs after college, and it now serves us daily in our roles as college tennis coaches here at Luther.
When reflecting on being a student-athlete, the benefits easily rise to the forefront. The competition provided us with life lessons from each match, won or lost, the physical activity gave us a wonderful outlet to stay fit, and the time-management skills helped us to improve our academic performance.
However, without a doubt, the friendships and the opportunity to work with a group of teammates for a common goal are the biggest assets from our athletic journeys as collegiate student-athletes. These relationships are the reason that becoming a collegiate athlete was one of the best decisions that either of us have made in our lives. The time commitment was well worth it for an activity we loved and the people it involved became like family. We had teammates to lean on and friends that always had our back, which made the bumps in the road a little smoother and the highs that much sweeter.
Another essential part of our experience as collegiate athletes was our relationship with each of our coaches. Our college coaches were incredible leaders for us, and we strive to guide our student-athletes in a similar way every day. In our experience, our coaches became mentors for life and knew our attributes better than anyone else on campus. Even today, we remain in contact with our college coaches and appreciate their continued support.
After college, we have had the tremendous honor of having former teammates in each of our weddings. And now, as Luther tennis coaches, we look forward to seeing so many of them at our annual alumni match each fall. You know that you’re a part of something special when people come back to this event from all over the country year after year. It’s through athletics and our teams where we made our strongest bonds in college, and they continue to last to this day.
If we bundle it all down to one word, it would be gratitude. We are so grateful that we had the opportunity to be student-athletes in college and know that all that we gained will continue to serve us throughout the rest of our lives.