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Erin and Grace’s Column

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Playing a sport in college is an opportunity that not every athlete is able to accomplish. Whether it be playing D1 or at the local community college, being a college athlete is an exciting and new experience for anyone being involved in sports.
Up until eighth grade, I really believed I was going to play softball in college. I dreamed of playing third for the Florida Gators, and I idolized Cat Osterman, an Olympic softball player. But once I joined club volleyball and really began to understand and play the sport in its best form, I began to realize I had a new dream- to play volleyball in college. Now, I’m a realistic person, and at 5’ 3” I wasn’t expecting to play at a Big 10 or a Division 1 school like Penn State or Northwestern, but I did start to work harder, attend more camps and take private lessons, in order to achieve the title of college athlete. During this past school season I played a position that was completely new and foreign to me, which ended up making me a better player and helped me find the position I would be playing in college. In January, I attended a tryout for my dream school, Oklahoma City University, and played with some members of the team. I signed to play with the NAIA school in February, and I’ve never felt so excited and proud of my hard work and effort I put into reaching my goal.
As my tennis season was coming to a close in the late fall, I was faced with a tough decision to either play in college or not. The Marino side of my family had played tennis in college yet I had never really given playing in college that much thought until my coach brought it up to me during one of our matches. She had played in college and said it was one of the best decisions that she made in life. I was apprehensive at first, but the more I thought about it and talked with my parents, the more I began to like the idea. I had worked hard all four years to improve my tennis skills and I had really loved playing tennis, so why should I stop! The one thing that was holding me back was worrying about not focusing on my academics because I didn’t know how much time commitment playing tennis for College of Lake County would be. After talking with the coach, I really started to love the idea and started to really get excited for my future after North. After finishing my last year playing tennis at North, I couldn’t imagine not continuing to play a sport in college. I am so excited for the future to come.
For those who are looking to possibly play sports in college, make sure you think long and hard about your decision as this will and could affect the rest of your life. Make sure to get in contact with the schools of your choosing and either e-mail it back and forth or set up a meeting to talk about it with them. Always remember that you are a student athlete, so academics ultimately come before your dedication to a sport.

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Erin and Grace’s Column