While most people that know me know this, my collegiate golf career began at Florida State University. I transferred to Penn after my freshman year and spent the next four years playing golf for the Red and Blue. Before you marvel at the seemingly impressive athletic feat of being an athlete at a Power Five school, I’ll remind you golf really isn’t a sport anyway.
All jokes aside, transferring to Penn was the best decision I have made in my life. Being an athlete here provided me with an exceptional education (even if people still think I’m about to graduate from Penn State), friends from all walks of life (shout out to my Fries!), and countless other opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
One of those opportunities came when I decided to write about sports for the DP. When I walked into the sports office my sophomore year, then-Senior Sports Editor (now one of my best friends) William Snow asked me why I wanted to write. I didn’t have a true answer then, but I think I do now.
When you play a sport, you know how much time, effort, and passion go into it. On the flip side, you also know how many people think you just show up and play. There are few people who realize what goes on in the day-to-day, hour-to-hour, and minute-to-minute preparation of being a Division I athlete. That is why I wanted to write. I wanted to hold the megaphone up for my fellow athletes to talk about the great and amazing things they were doing in their sport. While that certainly entailed highlighting their exceptional athletic performances, I found it much more gratifying to showcase how they were such exceptional people.
Every athlete on this campus has a story or something that makes them special. Hearing their stories of success made me that much more excited and motivated to do what I was doing at the highest possible level. It also helped shape my view of college sports in a slightly different way.
Being an athlete at Penn is an incredible opportunity and privilege. Wearing the Red and Blue is something I’ll never take for granted, especially after not having a great experience at FSU. Yes, school sucks, a lot. This place is a complete pressure cooker, and it’s not easy going to school here. It takes a toll on your mental health and causes you to fail, a lot.
But at the same time, sports provide a respite from all of those pressures. The playing field is an athlete’s sanctuary, where nothing else matters except the game. Since I came to Penn, this is how I felt about golf, and I know many others feel the same about their sports, too. There are too many other stresses at this school; your sport shouldn’t be one of them.
Ultimately, I’m just very thankful and fortunate to be surrounded by incredible peers at Penn who inspired me in my studies and in my sport. Golf has given me everything, but so have all of the people at this school I’ve met along the way. Thank you all; you know who you are.
CARTER THOMPSON is a College senior from Tallahassee, Fla. He served as a Sports Reporter for The Daily Pennsylvanian and also played for Penn men's golf.
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