The Wildcard: The one with the offseason

If you’re anything of a football fan, I’m sure you’ve been following the insanity in the NFL over the last week. Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, Sean Payton, cuts, trades and bounty systems have turned football’s offseason into a spectacle more entertaining than the NBA’s regular season.

Maybe you won’t find any scandals or blockbuster deals here at Indiana Wesleyan University while most of the Wildcat teams are out of season, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining, or at the very least, challenging for those involved.

The level of difficulty and dedication from these Wildcats is evident.

Like when women’s basketball coach Steve Brooks said he started planning for next season on the more than 10-hour bus ride back to Marion. Or when men’s basketball coach Greg Tonagel detailed his players’ rigorous offseason schedule, saying they wouldn’t be getting very many days off in preparation for next year. Even the student-athletes get into it on their own, as personal training regimens are a necessary part of succeeding in intercollegiate athletics.

I’ve recently gained a new level of respect for what these young men and women do for their sport in the offseason, whether that’s working out before most people are awake or sacrificing a second slice of cake in order to be a millionth of a second faster or throw the ball a millionth of an inch farther.

For me? I just started running again.

That may not sound like much, but trust me, it’s a huge step for a guy who usually spends more time writing in a day than sleeping.

I ran every day early on in high school. Sometimes multiple times a day. But one winter I got sick enough to break me of that healthy habit, and I just never picked it up again. It wasn’t until I laced up the old running shoes a couple weeks ago that I remembered how much I enjoyed it, but also how difficult running can be. Especially when you take a three-year breather.

I won’t admit how much I’m running, or how little it now takes to get me gasping for air like an asthmatic fish out of water. I fear I’d lose respect from the entire IWU cross country team. But it definitely served as a reminder for me how difficult athletics are.

It’s easy for fans (myself included) to forget about all the work athletes put in on a weekly basis between games. But it’s even easier to forget about the work they put in between seasons. For IWU student-athletes, that doesn’t mean changing teams or answering a never-ending string of questions from the media (although I do my best), but that doesn’t diminish what they do. With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, this is something we can’t forget.

Of course, however, it’s not completely the offseason for Wildcat athletics. There’s still a lot more baseball, softball, golf, tennis and track and field to be played.

This post was written by:

- who has written 143 posts on The Sojourn.

Jeremy Sharp is the Editor-in-Chief of The Sojourn. A senior at Indiana Wesleyan University, he's been writing for newspapers, magazines and sports teams since age 15. A Cincinnati native, Jeremy has a passion for sports journalism, although he likes to wander into all sections of the paper.

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