It’s no secret how beneficial sports are to an individual’s physiological and psychological health. They’re fun, challenging, and rewarding. College sports can also serve as a means to an end by allowing thousands of students scholarships and NIL opportunities.
In a grander sense, collegiate sports allow communities, teams, and individuals to come together. People from a variety of different backgrounds often unite behind a hometown team or school. As an athlete, to be a part of something greater than yourself is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
At Signing Day Sports, our mission is to allow as many athletes as possible to live out their dreams by participating in collegiate athletics. Why do we feel so strongly about this? Why do we encourage every athlete to aim high and never take “no” for an answer?
To put it simply, playing a sport in college is often referred to as the best time of someone’s life. Many members of the SDS team have experienced this. We’ve spoken to countless others whose collegiate athletic experiences have shaped who they are in one way or another as well.
But what is it about college sports that has such a lasting impact?
Fair question. One that each individual may have a unique answer to. And that’s the great part. There are countless aspects that should attract young athletes to the prospect of participating in college sports.
“The great tradition and culture of each program is on display every single week when you run out onto that field in a sold-out stadium,” said Hank Bachmeier, a four-year starting quarterback for Boise St. who recently transferred to Louisiana Tech. “Throwing a touchdown and hearing the crowd roar is a feeling that is hard to find anywhere else.”
A student-athlete like Bachmeier, who has already compiled a myriad of noteworthy memories over the course of his career, is a great example of the collegiate athlete experience. He’s experienced injuries, he’s led his team to program-altering wins, and now, he’s endured the transfer portal. His interaction with Signing Day Sports illustrates the profound impact that these experiences can have on someone.
The ebbs and flows of collegiate sports are what makes the experience so impactful. And Bachmeier knows that the experiences he’s already had, as well as the ones in front of him, are shaping the way the rest of his life will look.
“College football is an incredibly humbling sport. There are highs and lows that you have to know how to deal with,” said the quarterback. “I have learned how to check in with myself mentally – which will be important in life outside of sports as well.”
The mental strength and drive that Bachmeier continues to show as a now graduate student is what helped Sierra Romero get to school in the first place.
Romero is a University of Michigan graduate who set numerous softball records during her four years playing for the Wolverines. She was named the inaugural ESPN Softball Player of the Year in 2015 (we like to say they started handing out the award because of her).
Similar to many others in her shoes, her path to stardom wasn’t as illustrious as ESPN awards and school records may suggest.
“My dad sat me down one day and said, ‘If you want to go to college, you have to pay for it, so you’re going to have to figure it out,’” said Romero in an interview with Signing Day Sports. “And for me, softball was going to help me get there (college).”
Lucky for her, she had the mental make-up and drive necessary to earn a scholarship. And as the story goes, the rest was history.
“I think any athlete would say the same thing – there’s just certain things about it that just fit you,” she said, recounting her experience with Michigan. “The way I was coached, the people I was around, the professors that had impacts on me – it really helped me grow into the woman that I am today.”
These are the experiences that our team feels so strongly about. Collegiate athletes learn so much about life outside of sports. On top of everything that comes along with being a superstar athlete, and the perks that come along with it, college is just that – college. It’s meant to further your life socially and professionally.
“From a networking perspective, I’ve met many successful people in their respective fields, and they’ve been awesome,” stated Bachmeier. “To be able to build that connection has been huge and I’m sure it will be beneficial once I graduate.
And the classroom is a whole other story. Athletes can, and usually do, leave with prestigious degrees in their field of choice. So, does a student-athlete’s success in school and sport transition into the workplace?
Very much so.
Employers understand the mental strength they’ve inevitably exhibited throughout their time as a student-athlete. Studies show that ex-collegiate athletes show higher levels of well-being and engagement when it comes to their professional lives. And this is no coincidence.
Collegiate athletics are the best times of a young person’s life. That much is understood. The far-reaching effects of participation are only just being realized. And it’s time for the Signing Day Sports community to learn for themselves.
“The relationships I’ve developed through college football will last forever,” said Bachmeier. “Some of the best moments of my college experience were just with my teammates in the locker room or hanging out with them on a weekend.”
(Top Photo: Isaiah J. Downing / USA TODAY Sports)