How to balance varsity football and school?
The life of a varsity football player can be an arduous one. Speaking as someone who spent five years as a varsity football player at McGill University, the balancing act of combining the time commitment required for academics and football is a challenging but rewarding experience. Before I started my time at McGill, a high school coach of mine told me this about playing university football: “football, school, social life. You get to have two of those three.” That turned out to be extremely prophetic.
Find symbiosis between football and school
During the regular season, most university football teams practice at least four times a week, with one walkthrough day, one game day, and one recovery day. Practices normally last 2-3 hours with meetings of about equal length beforehand, meaning all your classes must be packed into a half day. This leaves little time left for studying, never mind anything else. Excellent time management skills, a dedicated work ethic, and the willingness to make sacrifices are all required for student athletes to keep their grades up while performing on the field. Game days, especially ones where you travel, are nearly impossible to get any work done on, as most teams begin pregame proceedings with a team meal many hours before kickoff.
Be ready for your football workouts
Once the season comes to an end, the massive time commitment for football lessens slightly, but there are still 5-7 workouts a week, depending on the team. Football workouts are as tough as you would expect, but the bonding with teammates and discipline they teach you are worthwhile. Some teams give players time off for exam periods, which you will really need after a semester spent dividing your attention.
Your social life as a varsity football player
Social life consistently takes a backseat, but I always managed to find time to go out at least once a week (except during midterms or final exam periods). Furthermore, some of my best friends are guys I met through football, and our time spent together in the proverbial trenches made our bond that much tighter.
Find your rhythm
It can take a while to adjust, but I found myself fall into a rhythm each year. Although it is challenging, playing a competitive sport at a high level is something I was always grateful to be able to do. Football surrounds you with a community who always has your back. I found team sports to be the most rewarding experience of my life thus far, outweighing the necessary sacrifices.
Findlay Brown – Writter
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