Committed college athletes at FHC and the work that goes into it


Sports have always been a large aspect of high school, and that is not different at Forest Hills Central. However, some athletes here have decided to extend their athletic careers past FHC and into college. This decision can be one of, if not the biggest decision they have made in their entire lives, and with that comes immense pressure. The impact of making the best decision can be incredibly stressful. Will they like the team they will be joining? Will they get along with the coaches? What will it mean to their lives when deciding to make such a large commitment? These are just a few of the questions an athlete must face. One athlete that recently made a decision like this was Jada Burgin when she decided to commit to Western Michigan University to play division one soccer.

When I spoke with Jada, she shared some of her process and the thoughts that went into her making this tough decision. “Being close to home is really important to me,” Jada said. “I want my family and friends to be able to support me and attend as many of my games as they can. Additionally, I have a sense of comfort there because the head coach was my former club coach.”

Even though this may seem like the beginning of a sports career for athletes as they make these looming decisions, it definitely is not.  In fact, most athletes have been participating in their sport for a large portion of their young lives. They have been working and sacrificing for their sport for many years. With sacrifices and practice can come many life lessons that have impacted them. They have had to learn how to manage their time well, they have learned to be disciplined, and they attained leadership skills. Sydney VanLente committed to Hope College for division 3 swim and dive and has experienced the impact her sport have had on her life. 

“My sport has influenced my life by showing me how important consistency and dedication can make,” Sydney said. “I realized very early that if you want to reach your goals, you need to put in full effort in order to reach them.”

There are many benefits to playing sports, but being a young athlete isn’t completely sunshine and rainbows. Along with the benefits of athletics come many sacrifices. Yes, these sacrifices can help one achieve some of one’s goals in the future and can help one to become a more successful person, but there are pitfalls. Some sacrifices can make an athlete feel left out in the moment, such as seeing his or her friends going to the mall to hang out or missing a high school dance. 

“I definitely had to sacrifice some things such as social events and hanging out with friends,” Sydney said. “Swimming takes up the majority of my week with swimming morning and night, and sometimes three times a week.”

Although being a young athlete comes with many sacrifices, these individuals have the passion and drive to still do it. Even though some might say that it’s just a sport, many athletes can say differently. Sports tend to have a large impact on athletes, shaping them into who they are today. They not only have learned many life lessons, but also they have friends and acquaintances that feel like family.

“The strongest motivator for me to keep playing is undoubtedly the relationships I’ve built with the girls,” Jada said. “I met my best pals when I started playing club soccer. Some of the girls I played with in the beginning are still on my team today. Just another family, really.”

Even with the downsides of participating in a long-term sport, many feel the good tends to outweigh the bad. Many athletes find themselves working toward something and then achieving some, if not all, of  the goals they set for themselves. This is an amazing confidence builder. Being an athlete not only can have a large impact on an individual’s life, but you can go as far as to say often it can forge an athlete into who he or she is today.

“When I was out of town, I certainly felt like I was missing out on quite a lot,” Jada said. “But ultimately, deciding to prioritize soccer above my social life has brought me to where I am now.”

Overall, athleticism and hard work in sports teaches an individual a variety of beautiful lessons and allows them to experience opportunities that one cannot get anywhere else.