The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

Athletes walk tightrope of responsibilities

Photo by Dan Acosta
Carson Burns finished his freshman season batting .277 with one home run.

A full-time college schedule is busy, but no student seems to be quite as busy as student-athletes.

“It’s all to prepare them for what comes next,” said head baseball coach Keith Hessler.

In most cases, that next step would include attending a four-year college to play their intended sport. Hessler said that between class obligations and team obligations, the schedule can be extremely rigorous. Players can expect to attend practice six to seven days a week, weight training for up to three days a week (one to two hours at a time), mandatory study hall and there’s always homework. Some players also have jobs to consider.

Hessler said that schoolwork isn’t the only obligation of a student athlete.

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“On-field ability is the first thing that gets my attention,” he said. “From there, it turns into the type of people they are. Are they mature enough to be able to understand what college baseball is all about? Can they understand what the goals are, not only of the team, but the aspirations to move on after Everett and play at a four-year school?”

“It’s all about balance,” Hessler said. “In-season grades do suffer for some guys one way or the other.”

Freshmen are required to take at least five hours of study hall per week but sophomores with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher are not. Grade checks are done every two to three weeks with all athletes so coaches can stay up-to-date with their grades and discuss any possible struggles on the road ahead.

“It’s the type of busy that takes a special mindset,” said Carson Burns, an infielder for Trojan baseball. “There are some days when you’re awake at 5-6 in the morning and before you know it, you check the clock after practice, and it’s 4 pm and you have a couple of assignments due that night.”

“Weekends are a different animal. We might have a pregame for a doubleheader starting at 9 a.m. and by the time game two is over, it’s almost 7 at night. But at the end of the day, it’s on us to balance our practice time, school work and recovery. You even forget to eat sometimes.”

Burns believes that if he stays on top of school work, baseball will take care of itself.

Third baseman and pitcher for Trojan Baseball, AJ Hendrickson, said his schedule can also get extremely busy. 

“From working out early in the mornings to attending my in-person class to practice that afternoon, I cope with the schedule by making sure I sleep and eat enough to have the energy needed to be active and engaged,” Hendrickson said. 

He has to formulate a plan of attack in order to stay on target. He maps out his entire week’s schedule all at once, otherwise it becomes too easy to get distracted. 

When it comes to managing his many in-season responsibilities, Burns said, “Keeping a level head is the biggest struggle. There are many obstacles throughout college baseball, some you can’t even really predict. You almost have to put on blinders like a racehorse.”

“The goal is to keep your focus on the task at hand and not let what has already passed change your course of direction. You can’t allow a tough class, a bad game, or a fight with your girlfriend to dictate how you think.”

Hendrickson said his number one priority is keeping up with his grades so he can get his associate degree and maintain his eligibility in baseball. 

“In the classroom, on the field, or at any social event with others, I want to be the best version of myself at all times.” 

As difficult as it all sounds, Burns said he wouldn’t change a thing about the workload.

“It’s a grind. Obviously we wouldn’t be doing the interview if it were a cakewalk. But being able to reflect on a given day and think ‘I got better today’ almost every day is an irreplaceable feeling.”

Finally, when asked what he would say to a fellow athlete who is struggling, Burns said, “You are never alone…Your teammates are here to support you, your coaches are here to support you…and your professors are employed to support you. This program is built on success and family and no one is left behind.”

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Daniel Combs
Daniel Combs, Staff Reporter
My name is Daniel Combs (first name, William), and obviously, I go by my middle name. Last quarter, I was still pretty vague on what I wanted to do for a career but now, I think I have some idea. A few months back, I was thinking about journalism and its different forms and I came to a glorious realization; video game journalism is a thing! I have been an avid player since I was a young kid. Games of all sorts; FPS, RPG, MMORPG, etcetera. That was when I decided "to hell with it" and to go after that job title. Hopefully, it takes me somewhere good. My father was a journalist his entire life, and definitely all of mine up until he died. Over the years, I learned quite a bit from him while also managing to form a tenuous relationship with the man himself. In the end, I decided I didn't want to follow directly in his footsteps and that's how I landed at VG journalism. The Clipper fits into my long-term goals by teaching me the fundamentals of journalism, the ones my father never thought to teach me. Last quarter, I learned quite a bit and hope to use what I have learned to be a better journalist this quarter. One issue/topic that really interests me outside of journalism is true crime investigations. Crime, murder, theft, heists, you name it, I want to learn about it. I couldn't possibly tell you where that interest comes from but it's there and I am "bout it bout it." When I'm not writing for The Clipper, I can usually be found in the gym, at home playing video games, on the mountain trail, or at my girlfriend's place trying to wrangle unruly children. I think my most marked characteristic is my willingness to push forward despite the obstacles. When I set my focus on something, there is usually no stopping me. My greatest achievement is getting out of the drug/party life. I used to be a real wild man until some real bad stuff happened and I had to choose to either turn my life around or see it crumble before me. I chose the former. I most identify with Han Solo, don't ask me why. I can spoon feed you a ton of heart warming or inspirational crap about what brought me to The Clipper but at the end of the day, it was my father. I mean, sure, he's dead, but his legacy is what brought me here.

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