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Student athletes: Jocks or gifted students?

GPC athletes respond to the misconception of having brawn and no brain.

By: Temarrio Thomas

Asia Vetter (#10) focuses on making the basket on the court and making her grades off the court. Photo by Ben Abrams.
Asia Vetter (#10) focuses on making the basket on the court and making her grades off the court. Photo by Ben Abrams.

When the captain of the school’s soccer team walks around campus, one can automatically assume that his life is easier than most students.

The images portrayed by popular media outlets today would have people believe that the star athlete always gets the attractive girl and receives an easy ride thanks to partisanship exercised by the school faculty.

This cliché has been featured in several TV shows and films such as “Back to the Future.”

The lifestyle depicted of these gifted pupils is far from the normal reality for most of these students.

Asia Vetter (#10), a freshman guard for GPC’s women’s basketball team said, “It’s a great school because it has the small classes so that your teachers know you by your name, and their actually focused on you education.”

Vetter’s teammate sophomore forward, Brie Rackley (#11) said, “It gave me good exposure basketball wise, and is a good supportive school. I do feel loved here.”

Both athletes agree that being a student athlete isn’t about popularity; it’s about a sense of belonging.

Rackley also agreed with Vetters about the support the athletes and student receive from the professors on campus.

She said, “I met a lot of great professors here on the Decatur and Clarkston campus and most of the professors and teachers they look out for us. They are very supportive.”

The college experience is new for men’s basketball players Daryl Tucker (#20) and Marlon Reid (#44). These freshmen are enjoying the new-found experience of playing on their first college team.

“It has been amazing,” said Tucker as he shared his experience as a student athlete. “When you come here, it is like family. You really make a bond not only with the players, but the coaches as well. Everybody really works together, and I’m going to miss it.”

Reid gave GPC athletic credit for the maturity and growth he has experienced in his short time playing for the school.

“It made me a better person,” he said. “Coach Barney helped me look at certain moves and see that it is not just about basketball it is about an education too.”

Sophomore basketball team captain, Ronnie Mays (#2) shared his enjoyment of meeting new teammates and welcoming them to the school.

“Meeting new people and basketball teammates when they come around and we get the chance to play with each other,” said Mays. “The leadership that you look for comes out when you to.”

The other team captain, sopho- more player Casey Wells (#5) said, “I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. It’s definitely given me the kind of experience that I was looking for.”

Wells also loves how playing ball at GPC will help him shape his promising future. “It prepared me college beyond the two or fours years I spent here,” says Wells. “It really helped develop my game, me as a better person and a better student as well.”

The next time the television or a movie portrays the image of the super jock athlete that is missing the brains to backup his brawn, take a minute and think about the reality that many student athletes are actually working as hard on hitting the books as they are on hitting the boards.

About Farhin Lilywala

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