COLUMN: Student first, then athlete

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Braswell High School

Varsity baseball player Eli Lusk is pictured in the baseball team photo. Lusk has learned from head coach Donald Watson that it's important to be a student first, then an athlete.

Eli Lusk, Sports Reporter

It was mid-January, and I had recently started practices for baseball. Before we hit the field, Coach Watson laid out his expectations for us not just as players, but as students.

“Student first, then an athlete.”

He explained to us what he meant.

He talked about his expectations for us not just as players, but as decent, hard-working men. He said that while sports don’t necessarily secure us a spot in college, knowledge will. Thrive in school first, he said, then worry about sports.

“Student first, then athlete.”

I knew what he said was true; I had to start trying harder in school. I used to be the student who would disrupt class and blow off homework and wait until the very last week before the UIL grade check to turn in my assignments. Most of the time, I couldn’t make up for all the work I had left unfinished. I missed games halfway through the season because i was ineligible to play. I used to stress at the end of the year to try to pass both semesters so I wouldn’t have to go to summer school. I use to fight and get in trouble and not care about anything. I was headed down a really dark road.

“Student first, then athlete.”

I have made progress in becoming a better student. I pay more attention in class and put more effort into my work. I have started to take my grades and future more seriously. I’m striving to only have A’s and B’s, where before my only goal was to just pass. I’m not waiting until the last minute anymore to do school work. I have found it’s less stressful to just knock it out from the start. I have started to better myself as a person. Hearing a coach say that being a good student is even more important than being a good athlete helps. I know that I still have a long way to go, but over time, I know I will live the line:

“Student first, then athlete.”