Parkview athletes prepare for their futures

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Parkview athletes prepare for their futures

Marianna Markley swims the 500 freestyle at the state swim meet

Marianna Markley swims the 500 freestyle at the state swim meet

Morgan Fleming

Marianna Markley swims the 500 freestyle at the state swim meet

Morgan Fleming

Morgan Fleming

Marianna Markley swims the 500 freestyle at the state swim meet

Sania Chandrani, News Editor

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This year, like every other, many Parkview seniors will decide to sign to play a sport for their college. Maybe they will eventually go pro and make some money, but for now, for many of them, sports pay a hefty tuition and allow them to follow something they love. For many, nothing could possibly go wrong.

There are clear benefits to signing to play a sport at a university. Money, popularity and an immediate friend circle just to name a few, but there are risks involved with the decision as well. Students must keep in mind the risks they are taking before making their choices, just as they do while selecting a college.

Competitive sports take huge commitment, and the load does not lighten after high school for college athletes.

Senior Marianna Markley, who will be swimming at Converse College in the fall, made her choice to sign after some serious consideration. She said, “When it came time to decide, I knew that swimming competitively is something that I really love and wanted to keep doing.”

However, swimming was not the only factor in her choice. “I fell in love with Converse College when I went to visit. It had a beautiful campus and great programs of study.” The future history major talks about balancing academics with athletics saying, “I’ve learned to be organized and get my school work done even though I spend a lot of time at the pool.”

While Markley is nervous about starting college swimming, she says, “I’m excited for the new experiences. I don’t think I’ll be able to have the whole “college experience” but keeping active and making new friendships through swimming will make it all worth it.”

Dr. Michael Dartt, who played collegiate baseball at the University of Hawaii on scholarship, offers similar thoughts years after he made his choices. For Dr. Dartt, the difficulties were in the competition on the team and being far from home. As far as balancing academics, he says, “This wasn’t very difficult. Weight training was in the morning, and practice was in the late afternoon/early evening. I went to class in between those times. I usually studied once I got back to my apartment after practice.”

Because of the travel in the spring season, Dartt would have to “work with professors to make up exams and other assignments.” He said, “That could be a pain, but something was always worked out. We had required study hall every day on road trips. This helped all of the players remain focused on our academics.”

Dr. Dartt advises athletes to “Make sure you like the school regardless of the athletic situation. Also, be ready to compete. If you are the best player, you have to compete and prove it.”

For Heather Rockwell, Parkview alumna and freshman at Kennesaw State University, club softball was the right choice after her academic and athletic choices did not align. “When my senior year came around, I was given a few options to play collegiate softball,” Rockwell states. “These choices of schools, however, did not offer the major I had decided on. I was stuck between playing [softball] and my future.”

After putting her blood, sweat and tears into Parkview softball, Rockwell made the hard decision to follow her major over softball.

Nevertheless, she said, “When I got to college I put softball behind me and did not even think about it, until I heard about club sports. I decided to give it a try, and was surprised at the talent and commitment involved during try-outs. The choice to be able to play on the KSU Club softball team was a relief because there was another option to playing. I did not have to give up my dreams of playing in college; I just took a different approach.”

While she has made her choice with club, Rockwell advises students who are on the edge by saying, “You will need to decide how passionate you are and the time you have to devote to this.”