College athletics isn’t what it seems

Members of Orange Coast College’s athletic teams face many challenges in choosing to play sports for a community college. Many hope it will help fulfill their dreams but a lack of scholarships and guaranteed play time can often wear out the athletes.

Being a community college athlete isn’t for everyone.

With most already struggling to balance their academic and athletic lives, the added pressure of financial struggles and lack of social life can either make or break an athlete. Committing to play community college athletics is a blind leap of faith.

You are guaranteed absolutely nothing. No playing time. No scholarship. Nothing.

At a community college, you are what you make out of yourself and nothing more.

With many college coaches quicker to recruit more talented kids out of high school, the chances of achieving your goals and earning that scholarship is slim to none. Community college athletics are a pipe dream.

With some light being shed on this subject recently by the Netflix documentary “Last Chance U,” the underbelly of junior college football is seemingly unveiled. However, the show doesn’t highlight schools under the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), which does not allow any financial aid directly for athletics as opposed to the National Junior College Athletic Association, which governs the rest of the country.

Being a community college athlete is difficult enough but things only get trickier at schools in California.

Playing football and track at Orange Coast College opened my eyes to an entirely new challenge while also showing me truly how hard it was to keep afloat.

Out-of-state students struggle more than most, since they must get jobs in order just to keep a roof over their heads and often sacrifice necessities such as clothing and even food just to remain eligible.

Stories of spoiled food, bed bugs and the power going out every other week are common, while the mental struggle of depression, anxiety and loneliness haunt others. Adversity is rampant with hurdles arising on a daily basis.

The problems that athletes face are not problems that go away easily. They creep up on you at night while you’re alone, seeping inside your head making you question yourself.

Athletes know that in a split second all of their work could be for nothing.

An untimely injury or a bad grade can motivate you or break you.

At the beginning of every new season in community college athletics, a group of young people get together to chase a dream, some old, some new. As the days go by they start to notice more and more people seem to be missing until they realize that the struggle broke them.

Community college forces you to grow up fast.

Giving up is the route most take, but in the words of legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, those who stay will be champions.

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