Every year, NCAA Division III institutions across the country participate in Division III Week. To celebrate this week, we will bring you a new profile every day that gives a glimpse into the life of Chapman's student-athletes.
Our week-long celebration begins with a letter from SAAC President and junior baseball student-athlete Brad Steiner. Brad is an Economics major with a minor in History. He outlines the attributes it takes to be a Division III student-athlete, specifically at Chapman.
Today marks the beginning of the annual NCAA Division III Week. This week is an opportunity for universities to celebrate Division III student-athletes and the impact they have on their campuses and communities across the nation. As President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, this week has given me the opportunity to talk about why Division III produces the cream of the crop when it comes to student-athletes.
Division III student-athletes log exceptionally long hours of athletics in addition to their demanding academic schedule and through this I have witnessed nine traits that each and every one of our student-athletes at Chapman possess.
The student-athletes in Division III set a plan and execute it every day. Our athletes at Chapman can be found on the track or in the weight room during the off season before the sun begins to rise over the skeleton of the new science building. We have to get our morning workouts in before school because when our academic periods are over we have to be at our respected field, court, or pool to start a day's worth of practice. Game days truly become our days off with the amount of hard work we put in.
At Division III, we are the only ones to hold ourselves accountable to overcome obstacles that may arise and we have the resilience to keep going to reach our goals and drive to win. We have all had to miss class for an away game, but we didn't miss it to sleep in or because we put off doing our homework that day. We hold ourselves to a higher standard because anything short of our goals is failure.
Athletes need to adapt and always improve to be able to be competitive. Adversity is constantly put on our plate as a Division III athlete. Biggest series of the year this weekend? Have a twenty-page paper due Sunday night? Game on. We here at Chapman are the beacon for Division III when it comes to performance on the field and in the classroom as leaders.
Strategy Into Action
Vision and goals are converted into sub-goals and execution happens every single day. What's great about being a student-athlete is the visual measure of our goals. We see the big picture. We know where we need to go and how to get a banner hung in the gym or on our outfield wall. The off season becomes a season of work, not leisure.
There is something special about a Division III student-athlete with regards to teamwork. Athletes, even in individual sports, understand its importance, but here at Chapman, teamwork extends much further than just being on the field. We are teammates in the classroom, we find ourselves holding each other accountable on assignments and making studying a competition to earn the highest grade.
Here at Chapman, we've all had our injuries, our failures, moments of being down one in the ninth with two outs. All of us have had to face a situation on the field that has sharpened our character in the classroom and has allowed us to grow as citizens, knowing it won't always be a smooth ride, but we do not give up.
Performance Under Pressure
I often laugh at the atmosphere in the library at the end of December and late May. Our campus, as well as the multitude of universities across the nation, are in absolute stress mode with the year coming to an end. Finals week is tough, logging late hours studying, waking up early to get that extra bit of flash card work before the test, having twenty percent energy left and needing to find a way to give one hundred percent of that twenty is tough. For student-athletes, that's a Tuesday. We have been sleep deprived and exhausted by the end of a semester that to us, it's just another day at the park.
Motivation and Commitment
For a Division III student-athlete, our motivation is intrinsic. We are the only ones that can motivate ourselves to put our nose to the grind stone and work hard each and every day because we are committed to a cause that's bigger than us. The opportunity to represent Chapman has been an experience that our student-athletes hold dearly, trying to put our year, this year, 2017, into a trophy cabinet.
Huge sacrifices, I believe, become the heart and soul of a Division III student-athlete. We sacrifice so much to be able to play the sport we love. To outsiders looking in, choosing to wake up early, work out twice a day, not go out on the weekends, we might be "missing out on the college experience." To those who think that, I find their insight to be wrong. We here at Chapman choose to put in that extra work, sacrificing a certain aspect of our life, out of love. Love that is found in the blood, sweat, and tears that each of us yearn for to hit that winning home run, to make the goal line catch and to be the hero for our team. We sacrifice because we love what we do every day.
These nine reasons are why I continue to smile every day. Through the hardships and good times, I have had the opportunity to work with and support so many of our student-athletes at Chapman, who all have these shining qualities. I know that our student-athletes will continue to excel on the field, in the pool, and on the courts because there is something special here at Chapman, and that something is the bond, commitment, and love we have for our teammates and sport.
Over the course of this week, you will have the opportunity to hear from our student-athletes that have made an impact on their teams and within the school. It gives me great honor to represent each and every one of them as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President in their stellar efforts on and off the field. Enjoy!