For families with athletes, it’s easy for sports to become a primary focus. I think involvement in sports is wonderful. Figure skating was obviously a huge part of my family’s life. Yet, it’s important to remember the words from the movie Coach Carter:
These…are student athletes. “Student” comes first.
As much as athletes would like to compete in the Olympics and be at the top of their sport, that may or may not happen. Injuries could stop or hinder an athletic career – or the highest level of success just may not be in the cards. And no matter what happens, there is life at the end of a competitive sports career.
My Family of Student Athletes
I was happy that my children, Will and Chrissy, kept up their studies throughout their competitive careers. They have never regretted it either. Even though Will only attended college part-time while he was competing in pairs, he still completed his BA with a 4.0 grade point average at age 24.
Chrissy had to go to school full-time to get a student visa to live in England. Attending university full-time while training and competing in senior ice-dance was a bit much. But it definitely paid off when Chrissy got her BA with First Class Honours at age 19. And the character traits Will and Chrissy developed by being successful student athletes were priceless.
One of the best examples of a student athlete is the 2010 U.S. National Ladies Figure Skating Champion, Rachael Flatt. Rachael has been an inspiration for student athletes everywhere by training and competing at such a high level while maintaining straight As and taking a heavy course load of AP classes at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs.
Rachael graduated from high school in May and was accepted into a number of top-level universities. She is deferring college this year but plans to attend Stanford University in the fall of 2011.
As the school year starts, help your athlete be a true student athlete.
Here’s a lovely and appropriate video by Rachael and RIF:
What has worked for your family in keeping the proper balance between student and athlete?