Friday, February 08, 2008
Time Management and the Three-Sport Athlete
by Annick Lamar, Haverford
For 11 sporting seasons and seven semesters I have been a Haverford College student and runner. When first asked to write an article about how a three-season athlete manages her time, I had trouble identifying with the person I was supposed to be writing about. Over these four years, as my running has become a lifestyle, my ability to manage my time has become second nature.
There was a moment at Haverford when running became more than a sport to me. It was perhaps during one the races of my freshman year that instead of thinking of training as a tiresome burden, training became the road to achieving my dreams. I wanted to ice more, stretch more, run longer miles, faster times, bigger venues, and risk much to achieve my goals. I approached cross country, indoor and outdoor track not as simple races but as personal challenges that I could rise above and answer. Yes, I am better than the week before. Yes, my fear does not control me. Yes, I dare to show the competition the back of my singlet. Never having been a spectator, I don’t know what non-runners see when we perform. I only see runners willing themselves beyond their physical boundaries, demanding that they yield. And, because I see battles in races and unimaginable strength in those willing to push their limits, I have built my life around doing what I love and doing everything I can to preserve it.
Despite my previous analysis about the psyche of a runner, I am first a student at Haverford College. Whether I want to be five seconds faster than last week, an All-American, or a shock to Division I runners that I dare to be better than, I can achieve none of this without being the kind of student Haverford demands of me. Haverford sets such high expectations and in answering these expectations, I again achieve victories, though they may not be as obvious as the ones on the track. If I can successfully write the best thesis of which I am capable, prove that I am well read in Africana existentialist philosophy, and understand the complexities of Black Nationalism, then I am victorious in the most essential part of this balancing act.
Though I write as if I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, I am no Atlas. On my team alone, I find nothing but intelligent women who must organize their schedules, plan their time, and make choices—not sacrifices—all to participate in an activity that gives their life a certain amount of meaning. I can only reason that this is why my team of 40 goes to bed early, brings homework to meets, writes papers in advance, and participates in its own personal balancing act day in and day out. As for advice I can only say that if you truly love your sport and you respect your professors, then the burden you bear of having not enough hours in the day will be lessened. Choose classes that interest and challenge you, and do not be afraid to lean on your teammates to get you through the hard times. For me, these past 11 sporting seasons and seven semesters would have meant nothing without the other, and for that, I have learned how to keep my balance.