College Sports: Don’t Take the Opportunity for Granted…

Written by on November 27, 2018

Like every international student, I am often asked, “What is it about your country that makes it different from the U.S.?” First thing that comes to my mind, without which I couldn’t even be here in the first place, is college sports.

I don’t know about other countries, but in Poland, if not in whole Europe, the words “college” and “sport” never fall into the same sentence. Such thing just don’t exist. Even in high schools, there are no athletic teams to join. Playing any kind of sports ends at middle school. From what I’ve noticed so far, the main reason for that is a different standpoints on school’s role in students’ lifes. Where I’m from, it is restricted to only passing the knowledge that the government acknowledged in its core curriculum.  Anything more than “book smart” is up to students to try and learn after school, and parents to pay for it. That’s why there is barely any community between people at school.

After middle school, every kid has to make a decision whether he or she wants to pursue a good education or professional athletic career. The decision puts pressure on people because practicing sports privately and being homeschooled is really expensive and difficult to manage.

Another aspect of college sports that America has that us Polish kids miss out on, is belonging to a team and having friends to share common goals with, and not just party together and exchange notes for school. From my perspective of someone who is completely new to this whole idea, I find it fascinating and great in its simplicity. What’s really noticeable about it is the atmosphere and relations it creates among students on campus. For me, it made it easier and less stressful to move halfway across the world, knowing that I will automatically become a part of a group of people sharing common interests and goals.

I don’t know about other countries, but in Poland when we think about American colleges, good education is not the first thing that comes to people’s minds. Because of how much they cost, colleges are usually imagined as elite establishments for rich people or good sportsmen who pay for they education with their sports abilities. Antitheticaly, back home colleges are free but they’re difficult to get into educationally speaking. Like you’d have to be a really good student for your whole life and do good on all your after- primary, -middle, and -high school exams as well as on the entrance exams for both the university and your major. However, as I see it, being a good student- athlete involves much more commitment and sacrifice than just being a student. And even though a lot of students here have to play in order to pay for there education, being on the team sometimes comes in way of classes, it teaches more discipline.

What’s great to see is people being able to continue to do their sport in college, wether they are good or not. That’s what I like about the idea of college sports and I hope that one day I will be able to watch a college game in my country.


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