[Originally published on June 2020 at bit.ly/bgsportsspecial]

Student-athletes are defined simultaneously as students who study hard, listen attentively to lectures, and pass all their requirements, and athletes who must compete, showcase their talents, and represent their school in the different competitions with pride.

But with such large workloads accompanying this duality, how can they maintain such balance?

“Being a member of the Marist Volleyball Team and a student at the same time is really, really stressful,” said Vincent Samaniego, grade 9, who happens to be an honor student and an MSCB candidate. “Time management, hard work, motivation, discipline, and dedication, for me, are the things that helped me in balancing both my academics and sports.”

“As athletes, we need to have a good sense of time management,” shared grade 10 Gerard Gersaniba when asked how to strike the balance. As a tennis player, he still manages to be an annual bronze academic medalist.

One might ask, though, why a student would add more work to their schedule. In response, grade 9 basketball varsity Joshua Dela Paz said, “’Yung advantage sa pagiging student-athlete ay napapatunayan mo na hindi ka lang magaling sa studies, kundi magaling ka rin sa sports.”

Additionally, according to grade 7 baseball player Joaquin Gabriel, the advantages would be “personality development, physical, emotional, and mental development.”

Joseph Ongkiko, grade 12, has involved himself in different facets of being a student while being part of the badminton team. He is a bronze academic medalist, an MSCB-SHS candidate, a former Blue & Gold editor, and a former debater.

He quipped that “the pros [of being an athlete] would be the values you would learn from fellow athletes, the coach, and of course the sport. Kasama na rin doon ‘yung time management and the ability to be decisive on what is important and not.”

Being a student-athlete helps you develop as a person. Grade 11 Dion Romero, who is an honor student, a class officer and part of the taekwondo team shared, “It teaches me a lot of skills and to be goal-oriented. Being a student-athlete keeps me focused on doing my responsibilities. Taekwondo is not only about self-defense, but it also teaches you self- discipline.”

But this disciplined lifestyle also has drawbacks. Ongkiko shared that the grind continues on and off the campus. “Yung iba, baka walang time para sa friends, family, or even love life nila. Tapos constantly gumagalaw ka talaga dapat. There is no room for you to stop and take things easy.”

“You are on your toes at all times,” Gabriel added. “Hindi pwedeng magkamali. People easily identifies you, even the guards kilala ka.”

Samaniego and Gersaniba also shared that there is a need to handle stress since people would have high expectations for student-athletes. But for Romero, his sport can both be an escape and motivation.

Many may not know the complete struggle of these members of the Marist community. Yet, one can reap many rewards and traits that can help you build personality.

As Dela Paz puts it, “’Wag kayong titigil abutin yung mga pangarap niyo. Kung ano mang talent na meron kayo ipakita niyo at ‘wag niyo ito ikahiya.” David Lumba, Clarence Acosta, Miguel Puzon, and Marcus Bellosillo // Artwork by Sean Sumague

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