As normal high school students throw their graduation caps in the air celebrating an accomplishment in life, they can exhale a long gasp of air knowing they have a long, fun-filled summer ahead of them. However, an upcoming Division I football player is only beginning to inhale as his stress has only begun. With summer camp on the horizon, an upcoming eighteen year old athlete can only imagine what obstacles and tense situations will be presented as football season is a little over two months away.
Being a college athlete offers an incredible amount of stress, especially when playing for a nationally recognized program. We rarely think about it, but could you imagine being a five star quarterback coming into the Ducks’ offense fresh out of high school, and the amount of pressure to learn the intricate fast-paced offense, become a leader (as you’re the face of the program now), and lead the team to a BCS game, since your fan base expects nothing less?
The amount of poise and growth players develop through their short three to four year careers in college is undervalued. A lot of the time, players simply allow the hype of their high stature to take the best of them and make them feel invincible. That attitude leads to selfish play and a terrible work ethic, which in turn causes poor performance. Much of a player’s success comes from the coaching staff’s ability to control egos and put their players in the best positions possible, something Oregon has excelled at.
So remember, the next time you see one of your Ducks perform poorly, think to yourself, do you really know what this young man is going through, and do you think you could really handle it better?