The Anatomy of a Varsity Athlete
By: 25249 Rebecca Fielding
The decision to become a varsity athlete is a complicated and tough choice to make. At RMC, some athletes are recruited and aided through the application process by their future coaches while others push through the system themselves and choose to try out for a varsity team upon arrival at RMC.
Varsity is not the easy experience that some may think, nor is it always privileged to have the top cadets at the college.
A varsity athlete must encompass certain characteristics in order to achieve success at RMC. In order to compete at the OUA and CIS level, the cadets must be determined and dedicated to their sport and their teammates. It is the commitment when times are tough that set varsity athletes apart from the rest.
As a captain of a varsity team, I have seen many players in various sports come and go. The decision of some athletes to quit is most likely based on the stress of balancing the 4 pillars and also the social aspect that every university student is entitled to. It can also be the physical strains of being a competitive athlete and the medical situations that arise due to the level at which we play.
In order to have success in all 4 pillars, a varsity athlete must be organized.
Academics are everyone’s main priority. In a close second is athletics, which encompasses the PPT and our sport. These two events go hand in hand. We train every day and play every weekend, and we are constantly exercising outside of practice and games, enabling our success in both of these areas.
We also strive for bilingualism, which on my team has become easier due to the fact that we have four francophones this year. They are constantly chatting to each other in French and the rest of us join in as often as we can!
The military pillar is equally important (if not more so) than the rest, as this drives our future. One day we will all become officers in the Canadian Forces and the lessons we are able to learn on and off the court will definitely come in handy.
In recent months, the varsity program has noticed a few key players choose to leave their respective sports. I do not believe that this is a poor reflection on the varsity program at all. In fact, it is a testament to the fact that 4 years of being a varsity athlete is not for everyone. The difficulty that most people find with being a varsity athlete is the social aspect of the college.
Due to the fact that we practice every day and are constantly travelling to other universities on the weekend, this does not leave much time for interaction outside of the team, once all schoolwork is completed. Some teams have never been to Christmas Ball because they are away that weekend every year. We have also seen people miss 100 days to grad and other important squadron events that most cadets at the college experience regularly.
While it can be discouraging to be unable to participate in these events, this is where the commitment and dedication of those athletes is truly showcased. To be able to work hard and play hard while the rest of the school is off partying is a rewarding experience, if you have a positive outlook about your accomplishments.
In my 1st year at RMC, we did not win a single game amidst all of the hours we trained and through all of our hard work as a team.
In 2nd year, I was given the chance to become the captain of my team, and as a young player, I had just as much to learn as the new girls coming in. We quickly adjusted to the new structure and our practice paid off, as we achieved success in winning our very first game together near the end of the season. It was a great day and one of my best memories thus far.
As I write this, returning from a game in Toronto, I am pleased to be a part of a team that already has 2 wins in the early stages of our season.
Even I can admit that at times, that most players have probably considered the thought of leaving their teams in the past. I can honestly say that I am glad that I didn’t. While my grades have sometimes struggled and the injuries were disheartening, my competitive spirit and the support of my teammates always got me through those tough moments.
I was not a recruited athlete for the women’s volleyball at RMC but I am just as loyal to the program as anyone else. I am proud to be playing for RMC and finally, all those years of training are starting to pay off. I knew it would and that’s why I choose to stay committed to this program.
Varsity is a necessary component to life at the college and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. The fan support that we have seen this season is also important to the morale of the players.
Seeing and hearing – staff, cadets, Ex cadets and family at our games to cheer us on makes everything worthwhile.
A varsity game is an entertaining event at RMC and due to the increasing skill and competition, there is always an exciting match to be seen no matter what sport you are watching.
The teams we are playing against are becoming more curious as to what we do in everyday life at school. They know that we are different but they are amazed that we can play at the same level amidst all of our other activities. I’ve talked to some other players who find it hard just to get their school work done outside of practice, while at RMC we have to do that and more. I’m sure that this is one of the only places in Canada where an athlete will be up at 0600 on the parade square, go to class all day until 1630 and then have a game or practice at night.
RMC is a unique institution and other teams respect what we are doing. I know I speak for many people when I say that varsity is a fun and rewarding part of the college, while providing challenges that only serve to make us stronger when we are able to surpass them.