Gopher Student-Athletes Speak at Westwood Middle School

Jan. 30, 2013

On Friday, January 25th, seven student-athletes traveled to Westwood Middle School located in Blaine, MN to meet with two 7th grade classrooms. Westwood Middle School is employing a program designed by the U of M called "Ramp Up to Readiness", where students are encouraged to discuss their dreams and careers. The student-athletes who attended this outreach event shared the importance of balancing school with athletics, the requirements of being a student-athlete, and some of the obstacles that they have faced with school and athletics.

The student-athletes began by telling the 7th grade classes what sport they played and the career they wanted to pursue after college. They then spoke about the importance of balancing school and athletics and how difficult that can be at times. Each athlete gave an example of a typical day in their life, describing how their sport and education interacted. They also explained how time management is key to being successful as both a student and an athlete.

During the question and answer session, one student asked what the hardest part about being a student-athlete was. Joey Balthazor (Football) stated his hardest obstacle was his procrastination of schoolwork. He said it took him a long time to learn to begin his work sooner rather than later, and also told the 7th graders that if you don't do well in school you will not get to participate in your sport. Some other topics that surprised the 7th grade classes were the amount of homework given in a college course and also how far some students have to walk to get to their classes.

The last question answered in the discussion was one that will help these younger students think about whether collegiate athletics is the next step for them. The discussion ended with a question being asked about the biggest difference between high school sports and collegiate sports. Duane Bennett (Football Alumni- '12) could not have left the students with a better answer. He stated that high school sports are more about social experiences whereas, collegiate sports are more about commitment, time management, and the willingness to work hard.

After a successful visit the 7th grade students from Westwood Middle School were left with reassuring advice from seven inspiring Gopher student-athletes.

Written by Brittany Henry




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