By Kyle Killgore
It’s a common occurrence when you walk into the dining hall. You see the football team on the far tables, closest to the food. The women’s basketball team usually sits together near the entrance, and the men’s soccer team sits together close to the window. Every team, every sport has their spot that they have staked claim to.
Regardless of where the teams sit, what I’m getting at is the fact that they are always sitting together. They are not just eating with their teammates; they are eating with the people that they have worked with; many for the last four years.
These are the people that they spend hours upon hours with, not just to play games, but in the weight room, during practice, long study hall sessions. It turns into more than that. These are the people that they hang out with away from their sport, away from all of the blood sweat and tears they put into a game.
Teams have become a family; working, playing, and a lot of times living together.
Several senior athletes have already said goodbye to their sports. Football players know that they won’t get another season; cross country runners know that they won’t be a member of another conference championship team.
The senior athletes for these sports have already said goodbye to their first love, the game. What is left is saying goodbye to the people that they have loved the sport with.
But many athletes are still in season. Track runners are taking their last laps, and softball players are seeing their last pitch at the plate. Tennis players are playing their final points and throwers and jumpers are trying to make their way to nationals for the last time.
There is nothing that makes this transition easier. It is a difficult task to leave anything that you have worked so hard for behind, and even more difficult to leave the people that you have lived your life for, for the last four years behind.
There are many positives about being a student athlete. Getting a quality education is the first. A majority of the emphasis is placed on playing the sports, but the seniors that are leaving are getting the opportunity to walk across the stage at graduation with a diploma in their hand.
We also can’t forget that the lives that the seniors have touched in their time here at Southwestern. Seniors are placed in a role that allows them to be a mentor for younger students, both in the classroom and in sports.
With the school year coming to a close it is inevitable for athletes to not only say goodbye to the sport that they love and have been playing, but also say goodbye to what has become their family, and their home.
After all is said and done, senior athletes are left with only memories of the sports that they are leaving behind, but they still have the group of people that they competed with. College sports have become less of a game and more of a lifestyle for these seniors that are leaving sports behind.
Kyle Killgore is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org