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Editorial: Thoughts from a senior Simpson College athlete

Hunter+Hillygus%2C+Sports+Editor
Hunter Hillygus, Sports Editor

Hunter Hillygus, Sports Editor

Hunter Hillygus, Sports Editor

by Hunter Hillygus, Sports Editor

My last first practice ever was this week. Sunday to be exact. It was a bit of a surreal experience, knowing that at this time next year, I’ll be wearing a suit and tie somewhere and a year removed from being a college athlete.

I’ve been an athlete since I was 5 years old. Everyone has a label growing up and that was mine. It’s an odd thought not to be an athlete anymore, but it’s also exciting to be able to expand your horizons and grow as a person.

As I got back to my apartment after an especially brutal last first practice, I thought about what I would miss the most as my baseball career comes to an end. My perspective isn’t special by any means, there are thousands upon thousands of senior athletes going through the same experience right now.

But if you’re a senior a part of any sport, club or organization, you can probably relate.

My first thought was that, unless my future career comes with a Michael Scott-esque boss, I’ll never experience the camaraderie that comes with college athletics ever again. I came to Simpson not knowing a single soul and I’m leaving Simpson with many teammates that I consider family. That doesn’t happen everywhere. You don’t get that bond with your co-workers at Wells Fargo. No offense to those who work at Wells Fargo, but you’re not running extra sprints or scoring the winning touchdown with Chad from accounting. You probably don’t care about Chad from accounting, but you care about that teammate lining up beside you.

I’ll miss the bus rides, team dinners and even the hotels. There isn’t a whole lot better than sweeping Central, celebrating on a cramped bus and grabbing dinner and a beer (if you are of legal drinking age) with your teammates when you get back home.

The big one though, obviously, is just playing the sport you love. There isn’t anything quite like going and flat out competing. Nothing else gives you that level of focus, edge and intensity. You can play all the noon ball at your local YMCA that you want, but nothing will ever compare to the bottom of the ninth, two outs and the winning run on base with yourself at the plate.

It’s hard to put into words just how much this chapter in my life has meant to me. Playing baseball at Simpson has allowed me to grow not only as an athlete, but as a person. The people that I’ve had the pleasure of playing and competing against in my time here have all in some way shaped me into the person that I am today, and I’m grateful for that.

As for the freshmen, sophomores and juniors, your athletic careers will come to an end one day, too. So for the time being, just enjoy it. Enjoy the early morning practices and the frustrating ups and downs that come with any sports. Because one day you’ll wake up and you’ll wish you had 6 a.m. weights or wish your only worry was figuring out how to drive a curveball the other way.

For the seniors, the future is exciting, but remember to soak up the rest of your time as a college athlete, because sometime soon, we’ll all be washed up.

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