The Collegian
Tuesday, May 24, 2022


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What if?

Live life with no regrets. It's a saying I try to live by, even though I've never fully understood it. I can't comprehend how it is possible to live life without regret. How can someone not want to take back a single thing throughout the course of an entire life? Hell, I can recall six different things I regret doing just this past weekend. Maybe you don't call it regret, but the reflective thought "What if I had done this?" has most likely crept into your mind at some point in your life.

My best friend and I always play the "What if" game when we're back in Delaware for break. A self-proclaimed "frat-daddy" at the University of Maryland, he wonders whether he'd be happy playing lacrosse at a smaller Division 3 college. He misses the sport terribly, but is not willing to sacrifice going to a smaller school to play.

On the other hand, I ponder the opposite. As a member of the men's soccer team, I wonder whether my athletic endeavors have hindered me from the full college experience. Will I look back on college wondering, "What if?"

I would like to think that I'm not alone. I know many University of Richmond athletes who complain about their sports or lack of a social life because of it. I also have non-athlete friends who miss the sports they once played.

Just the other day, I watched a college lacrosse game with one of my roommates, who is on the club team here. He described it as bittersweet to watch two of his high school teammates on TV, knowing he could have possibly played at that level.

The club lacrosse team at Richmond is a perfect example of the balance required between sport and social life. One player, a former high school all-stater, chose to play club at Richmond over playing at a number of Division 3 schools because as he said, "I'd rather go to a school just for the school."

Subsequently, he was one of six players who left the team this season because of conflicts with fraternity life. He said he would miss playing, but lacrosse made it hard "to be fully productive in all areas of life at UR."

Last week, my fellow sports columnist, Avery Shackelford, advised students to have the courage to love the battle. This week, I recognize the athletes who have made the choice to leave the battle.

I will obviously always respect the commitment and hard work of athletes at this school. I respect the field hockey players who not only partake in a dry season, but also a dry off-season. I respect the basketball players who are already back to training, less than a week after their season ends.

My point is that we should also commend athletes at this school who choose to be students first. Or fraternity brothers first. Or who simply just wanted college to be something different from what they were used to. The college experience is about more than just sports.

I will continue to play soccer as long as this university allows me to, but there will continue to be a part of me that wonders what if I had become a frat star, or a permanent B1 inhabitant. I'm OK with that. The college experience is what you decide to make it, and I have made it what I want. Whatever choice you make, just don't live with regret. Whatever that means to you.

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