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BY ANGELINA DEVINCENZO, East Lake High
From 6 a.m. workouts to 7 p.m. games and hourlong bus rides to and from, Caitlyn Smith never seems to stop. Smith is a softball player at Newberry College in South Carolina, and softball has been her life since she was 9. As she enters her second season as a Newberry Wolf, the East Lake High 2011 graduate shares her experiences as a college athlete with tb-two*. High school athletes who dream to play in the next level, take note.
If you, the college athlete, could give advice to you, the high school athlete, what would it be?
Challenge myself a little more. You don’t realize how out of shape you are ’til you get to college.
What is your favorite part about being a college athlete?
Having a connection with your team because of how much time you spend together. And the connection you have with other athletes, because they understand the time commitment and challenges that come with it.
What did you expect being a college athlete to be like? What is it actually like?
I expected it to control my life, but I didn’t expect it to be this much, I guess. It’s a challenge balancing.
How has playing in college changed your interpretation of the sport?
It literally is a job. When playing in college you have to really love it and realize that it is a job, or else you’re not going to make it. There are so many people that go to school for sports and don’t last after a year because they end up hating the sport they thought they loved.
How would your life be different if you weren’t a college athlete?
I honestly ask myself that question all the time. I can’t imagine what I would do without college athletics. I would get lost and have no desire to go to classes. I go because I don’t have a choice to miss. I would honestly lose my motivation, and my life would be totally different.
Do you still love the sport as much as you did before college?
It’s a love-hate relationship. Everyone has those days. But, I think I respect it more than I did before. I love the game and the people that I play with and for. I can’t imagine it any other way.