“What sport do you play?” That is often one of the first questions students are asked when they arrive at Baker.
More than half of all students are involved in athletics, and these commitments can have a big impact on the students’ academic life, free time and social life. So much so, that some students eventually decide to forgo these athletic commitments to focus on school, jobs or other obligations. Other students are forced to stop playing due to injuries, and some decide to switch from one sport to another.
Junior Brittney Diehm cheers on the Wildcats during the volleyball game against Benedictine on Oct. 4 in the Collins Center. Diehm joined the volleyball team after giving up her spot on the basketball team.
Junior Brittney Diehm was nearing the end of her freshman year as a basketball player when she decided to try out for the volleyball team, relinquishing her basketball jersey for good.
Diehm had come to Baker to play basketball, but she had also played volleyball and softball in high school.
“The volleyball program wasn’t very big at the time, but we were really good at basketball,” Diehm said. “I was encouraged to play in college, and that’s what I came to Baker for.”
However, she missed volleyball. She said it made her sad and she “just wanted to play again.”
Senior Parks Boeschen has a craving to play his sport again, but his circumstances are much different.
Boeschen was a sophomore when he pulled his hamstring playing football. He said it kept getting worse throughout the season, which led him to the doctor’s office.
“When I got it checked out they found out I had severe arthritis in both hips,” Boeschen said. “He said if I kept playing I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 40.”
Boeschen made the difficult decision never to play the sport he loved again. He said he loved playing and wishes he still could. One thing he especially misses is the brotherhood among the team.
“We all bonded over something we all loved,” Boeschen said.
The social aspect of athletics contributes to the enjoyment of the sport, according to many of these athletes, and it can sometimes be the reason athletes stay with the team.
Diehm said she was distraught about leaving the relationships she had built on the basketball team; however, she still remains close with many players.
“The biggest thing for me was letting go of the team rather than the sport,” Diehm said.
Sophomore Hannah Albright came to Baker University on a track scholarship, but she is now strictly focusing on her academics. Albright hosts a radio show titled “Triple Threat,” which airs Monday nights from 6 to 8 p.m.
Sophomore Hannah Albright had the same mindset when she recently decided not to continue running track. She said will miss the social aspects of track and field.
“I think I am going to be sad that I’m not part of a team anymore, but in the long run I think I will be happier,” Albright said.
Albright said track took up so much of her time that she became extremely stressed and felt as if she didn’t have time for the things she really wanted to do.
“I wanted to do things that I was more passionate about,” Albright said.
She looks forward to having more free time to focus on her career and hobbies, which include photography and blogging.
“I can really get into reporting and become fully engulfed in the media department and work on my career,” Albright said.
Sports do take up a lot of time, and for some they prove to be too much to balance.
“It was very time-consuming and my heart wasn’t fully in it,” Albright said.
Boeschen wasn’t fully aware of the intellectual strain football had on him until he was forced to stop playing. He changed his major shortly after when he had time to think about his future.
“The athletic part of being a student-athlete takes up a huge chunk of your time,” Boeschen said. “I didn’t get to think about what was best for me. I was tired all the time.”
However, it isn’t an unhappy ending for these students. They all believe that they made the decision that was best for their mental and physical health.
“I was scared I would regret my decision, but I don’t,” Diehm said. “I love volleyball. It makes me happy every day.”