Feb 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington State strong safety Deone Bucannon speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadum. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

WSU Football: Do We Forget Athletes Are Students As Well?

I was sitting in class the other week looking around as the professor was giving the lecture and I was doing the usual “people watching” that never gets old and it made me realize I was sitting in class with Deone Bucannon. I had noticed this before so it wasn’t something that was new, but what was new about it was that I realized that he was going to be taken in the NFL Draft soon. That realization made me think about everything that has to do with student athletes.

As a fan of Washington State and all college sports I had never really taken too much time to see that the people who I go cheer on and root for every day were students and people just like me. It made me ask myself, do we put too much pressure on these kids and forget that they are students as well?

College is hard and it is not an easy thing to do every day for just a normal student. Throw practice, weights, games, meetings, rules, travelling, and anything else that athletes do on and off the field and add all of that to being a student. We put so much pressure on these kids and expect them to come through and succeed. Every Saturday during football season we put on our schools colors and expect our team to win and succeed but more often than not we forget that they have lives just like the rest of us.

As I was realizing I was sitting in class with future Arizona Cardinal – Bucannon – it made me realize that he has way more on his mind than school. The guy was three weeks from being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft and the teachers were expecting his full attention to be on them and only them and his work. At that moment we were the same person to the teacher – a student. The only difference is that when I stepped out of the classroom I was still a student and he was an athlete.

The weekend before finals week at Washington State I was sitting at the baseball game watching the Cougars take on the USC Trojans and as I was thinking about my finals schedule and what studying I had left to do it made me realize that all these athletes that I’m watching play have to go home and study for finals or wake up Monday morning and take a college final. They have to go from thinking only about sports and the game to getting into study mode and then back to sports mode every day and even more so on game days during the weekend.

Maybe USC didn’t have finals that week but they still had to turn around and go to class or maybe even do homework that night before they went to bed after playing a game against the Cougars. And that is the same with every sport and every game, match, or meet for every school out there. These kids have more to do than go out and play a sport.

As fans we don’t really take the time to see what these athletes are doing behind the scenes and we don’t really seem to care. We want them to come out day in and day out and play the sport they love and win and do their best. I think it’s time that we start to look at them as student-athletes and not just athletes.  They are a different breed and take on a lot more than us fans seem to think.

So, thank you to all of the student athletes for going out every day and working hard for not only you but for us. You are the reason we watch the sport and you are the reason that we go out and show our colors and our pride. You’re not thanked enough and I think it is time that changes.

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