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Bulldogs & Beyond: A day in the life of a SWOSU athlete

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

In a new episode of "Bulldogs & Beyond", Greyson Buhlig writes about the daily life of athletes at SWOSU.

Photo by Wix media

By Greydon Buhlig

For The Southwestern

Most of you know someone who plays a sport in college, and you might wonder why they never have any time to hang out, or do something other than school. That is because they are busy, all of the time. Yes, the off season is a little different than in-season, but both keep a student-athlete very busy.

During a season, and for now I will just discuss football because that is what I know and have been through, a student-athlete will wake up and head to morning weights at 6 a.m. You lift for about an hour or so, then you head to class for the morning, or till you are done.

After that, you have a short break for lunch, and then it is time for meetings. After meetings you head to the field for practice. That lasts for about 2½ to 3 hours and then after that it is either study hall, or you go home for the night and do it all over again.

When you wake up you head to morning weights. The workouts change every day, as an athlete has to work all muscle groups and can’t be super strong in the upper body and weak in the lower body, or vice versa.

When I played at SWOSU, Sundays were heavy squat days. It didn’t matter if we were sore or tired, you showed up and went to work. Due to NCAA rules, we would have Monday off and start again back on Tuesday.

Lifting is essential, as it not only gives you an advantage on the field by being stronger than your opponent. It also keeps your body in shape and gives you a better chance of not getting injured.

Strength coach Cade Oller, in his first year here at SWOSU, has changed some things up recently, so if you ask a current football player, it will be a little different than what I am telling you right now. You have to come to weights ready to rock, mentally and physically. You have to push yourself, your teammates to be better if you want to become a champion-ship team.

When a student athlete heads to class, coaches do class checks. All that means is a coach makes sure that you are in class, early, and attentive. If not, the athlete will be punished. Whether that means running, less playing time, or even being kicked off the team. It is just one of those things, if you don’t have the grades, you don’t play.

When I stopped playing, it was easy to not go to class because you didn’t necessarily have someone ready to yell at you if you didn’t go. Although, that is the great thing about sports, having that accountability and being able to hold yourself to a higher standard. I realized I wasn’t doing enough or holding myself to that standard, and fixed it immediately, and for that I have football to thank.

Meetings usually consist of some film watching, whether it be of practice or a game, and also going over the game plan for the game, or the script for practice. The script is just the list of drills, scenarios, etc. that the team will do throughout the practice. It is a coach or players going through things not everyone understands, new plays or drills being implemented, and good or bad things that were seen during a practice or game.

The second to last part of a student-athlete’s day during a season is practice. In football, its where you strap on the pads and helmet and go play football. Again, these practices can last anywhere from one to three hours, and can be easy or difficult. It is just a walkthrough, or as Coach Chet Pobolish calls it, “putting the icing on the cake,” it is light and easy. It is a Tuesday practice, its hard hitting, physical and fast.

Every day is something different. Defensively, you might work on defending the pass a ton on one day, then the next defending the run. On offense, you might run the ball the majority of the time and then the next you never run the ball. It isn’t the same, and it is a vitally important aspect of the sport an athlete plays.

If you don’t practice, you will not succeed. It is just like anything in life, you don’t just show up to a new job and begin working. You go, get trained and learn the ways of the company. In sports, it is the same way. Athletes don’t just show up on gamedays and play, it takes time and effort and work to become a great athlete, and a great team.

The day ends with studying, either in or out of study hall. Again, if student-athletes do not keep their grades up, they will not be able to participate in the games. Study hall is just where a coach designates a time and place for the athletes to show up, and study for however long they are there.

If you don’t have anything to do, better bring something to do as there is always ways to get better. If you’re late, here at SWOSU, you might just be gone. Pobolish doesn’t mess around as his No. 1 goal is to get his athletes to graduate. It is just like anything else you are required to show up for, be there, do your best, and get something out of it.

This is just a little taste of what life is like as a student-athlete and if you are wondering, yes. Student-athletes are always tired and always busy, but it is worth it. Football has taught me a lot about life, about how to be successful. It is something that you just do, don’t complain, don’t stress about it, just do it.

So, if you’re student-athlete friends say they are busy all the time, don’t be upset, just say sorry and tell them everything is going to be OK because sometimes they just need to hear it.

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