Stepping Out Of The Game, And Into The Real World

Arthur Dowell, Web Editor

There comes a time when everyone has to give up something, and for many – even most – student athletes, that’s sports.

Coaches at division III schools have told athletes one thing over the years: they are students before they are athletes, so many are not jolted by their jilting of sports.

Some find their majors too demanding for sports commitments, and others lose interest and instead choose to focus on clubs and organizations.

This may be the case on many of teams, as seniors are not taking up roster spots as much as younger classes are.

Senior swimmer Bree Grzech said she is glad swimming is over for her.

“It’s been a long 16 years of swimming. It’ll be nice not to have to do off-season workouts and not have to worry about next season.”

Senior baseball player Joe Tagliarini has the opposite emotion as he prepares for his last season.

“I honestly cannot believe it all is coming to an end. I have been playing baseball for my entire life, and I cannot imagine how it is going to change my life when this season is over.”

Emotions run high for players who reflect on moments they cherish and the friendships they have made with teammates.

For Grzech, it all hit her hard on the team’s last home meet against Albright College.

“Us and Albright don’t get along, and realizing I would never swim again really hit me. I cried more at that meet from all the emotions than I did at my senior meet.”

Baseball season has yet to start, but Tagliarini knows that senior day will be the moment he knows the emotions will hit him.

“Seeing your teammates and their parents walk down the baseline is difficult to go through and once it’s my turn to walk down that line, it will be a rude awaken- ing for me. As for my career, it will hit me on the last game we play.”

With their competitive days coming to an end, both athletes mentioned an interest in coaching their respective sports and giving lessons to younger people who share the same passion. Both may even help at the college level as grad assistants.

“I hope that the future teams have as much fun and desire to win as much as my previous three teams,” said Tagliarini. “With the coaching staff that MU has and the player they bring in, I feel this will continue to be great. I would like to see MU progress into a powerhouse for baseball where players come in expecting to win and then have that success.”

Before they both officially move on from their playing days at MU, they acknowledge everything they’ve encountered in their tenure will be things they carry with them forever. The lessons and memories are things they will both will cherish and hope to share with others.

Grzech will never forget the fun times she had with the members of the swim team. The freshman buzz cuts, the floats after practice, and her personal achievements will stay fresh in her mind.

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