It's been said time and time again, but being a college athlete is hard work.
You have to balance school and practice schedules, all the while starting a career, having a social life and somehow still have time to sleep.
Something has to suffer right? During the season, it's your social life; in the off-season, it's your practice schedule; year-round, it's sleep.
And as stressful as it seems, the balancing act builds character. There are times when being hit by a bus is more appealing than dealing with your life, but somehow, it always gets better.
If you were or still are a college athlete, you know what it's like to juggle; your life is basically a circus.
But you should also recognize these 10 scenarios...
1. The Smell.
Our parents probably know this the best, but athletic gear holds smells forever.
Your shin guards, goalie gloves, knee pads and basketball shoes will always smell like six dead camels rotting in the desert.
There's no way around it. And try as you might, no amount of Tide Plus will remove the years of sweat soaked into its fabric.
2. Your Ridiculous Team Group Message.
You get weird with your friends, and if you were lucky enough to be on a team with people you loved, you know just how crazy a group message can get.
Of course the group message is primarily used for practice times, team meetings and whatnot, but occasionally, someone will throw everyone for a loop with a screenshot of an ugly Snapchat or a random video.
Now you all have an inside joke.
3. Fitness Testing Time.
This means different things for basically every sport.
In basketball, it's running as fast as you can up and down the court in an impossibly short amount of time.
In soccer, it's running until you basically die. In wrestling it's going up against each other. In volleyball it's doing the longest plank or wall sit ever.
Basically, it's to break you mentally, and build you physically. But either way, it sucks. And the second your coach says the word test, fight or flight kicks in, and you wonder to yourself what would happen if you just ran away and never came back.
4. The Dreaded Dry Season.
Drinking in college is normal. I won't say whether it should or shouldn't be, but it is. And the vast majority of the every school's student body spends their Friday nights double fisting beers and staying out until dawn.
What is a college athlete doing? Sleeping.
Obviously teams do go out when it's appropriate, like during the off season, but during the season, a lot of teams are not even allowed to look at alcohol, better yet be in its presence.
So we all just have to scroll through our Instagram the next morning with a severe case of FOMO.
Some people refer to it as grays or sweats, but the name doesn't matter. Groutfit is a term used to refer to athletic leisure wear comprised of a sweatshirt and sweatpants of the same color.
For my school, the color just happens to be gray. So gray + outfit = groutfit.
I'm here to tell you that there is no better feeling in the world than winning a game, taking a shower and putting on a groutfit for the ride home. No better feeling.
6. The Team Song.
There is always a song on the warm-up playlist that gets everyone ready to win a game.
It changes every year, and some years it is the worst song on the radio. It's usually because someone on your team dances funny to it, or maybe he/she can rap the whole song without breathing once.
But once the moment happens, it's like an unspoken decree.
Side note: For my team it was "Closer" by the Chainsmokers, and I will NEVER listen to that song again.
7. The Dingus Who Forgets Everything.
Every team has at least one person who packs for a tournament weekend with a blindfold on.
They just grab whatever feels right, and never open the bag again until they arrive at their destination. Then they choose the worst time to whisper to their captain um... I forgot my basketball shoes.
So now the captain has to figure out how to explain to their coach that the starting center has no shoes to play in. Well that's just perfect then Jessica, I guess we will just PLAY BAREFOOT.
8. Performance-Based Punishments.
Do you ever watch a game on television, see someone miss a field goal or a free throw and think, "they are definitely running tomorrow?"
Then the whole team basically has to avoid eye contact with their coach because s/he has broken their clipboard, and will throw it at the first person who makes eye contact with them.
There's nothing like coming to practice after six missed serves, knowing that six will be the magical number of the day: six suicides, six sets of stairs, six push-ups for every mistake, six people crying...
9. Surprise! You're All In Trouble.
Nothing brings a team closer like getting in trouble together.
Sometimes, as an athlete you forget that you're a small part of a much bigger organization. Every thing you say or do is a representation of your school, your teammates and your coach.
So when one of you falls overboard, you all have to jump in and save them. That's what being on a team is about. No one should ever be able to watch one of their teammates suffer, and stand by idly.
In a world so devoid of empathy, a team should be your safe haven.
10. A Love story: You + Referees.
In black and white stripes, referees resemble one of the most revered creatures in the animal kingdom: the skunk.
Every ref isn't awful. In fact, most refs are not that bad. But every athlete has had an experience with a ref that was so horrible that every ref from then on became Public Enemy No. 1.
A lot of these refs have never actually played the sport you've spent your whole life playing, and it is difficult to accept the judgment call of a person who can't even play the sport.