Participation on an athletic team is a powerful platform that brings students together and creates a sense of community. Here at Wheaton, sports foster camaraderie and school pride. While Wheaton is known for it’s academic rigor, it also boasts a highly successful and competitive athletic program. Just last season, the Wheaton football team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament and posted a 10-0 regular season record. Additionally, our women’s soccer team made it to the second round of the National Tournament last season and has made 19 consecutive trips to the National Tournament. Across all teams, there have been nearly 300 All-Americans since Wheaton was first established in 1860. Bottom line: in addition to academics, Wheaton also boasts rigorous athletics.
I myself have been a member of Wheaton Women’s Soccer team for the past four years. This commitment has played a huge role in shaping how I parceled out my time and who I spent my days with. Ultimately, my experience on the Women’s Soccer Team at Wheaton has left a significant imprint on me in a unique way. Beyond simply being fun and providing a competitive outlet, participating in athletics has a variety of benefits. The top three benefits I experienced firsthand from participating in athletics here at Wheaton are listed below.
1. The Relationships — After playing soccer for four years, I can confidently say that the best part of participating in athletics at Wheaton is the camaraderie I developed with my teammates. I was a part of an awesome community and quickly found a place to belong. It was such a gift to not only play my favorite sport, but to compete fiercely, sweat, work hard, and laugh alongside my teammates and some of my best friends. The friendships I made with my teammates are more meaningful than I could have ever imagined as an incoming freshman and I know they will last a lifetime.
2. Personal Development — After playing in more than 50 official games, roughly 280+ days of practice, 100+ hours spent traveling to games, I can confidently say that I have grown. I came in as a wide-eyed freshman and left with a greater and fuller perspective as a senior. My willingness to accept my coach’s criticism stretched me. My appreciation for my teammates grew along with my desire to serve them. My commitment to “keep on keepin’ on” grew tremendously. And when I tore my ACL in the second game of my senior year, my ability to keep things in perspective grew along with my trust in God. Looking back, I can see brief glimpses of hope where God’s hand was so evident in encouraging me.
3. Greater Trust in God — Competing in college soccer, especially at a place like Wheaton, it is easy to get wrapped up in the playing time. College sports are highly competitive and there always seems to be someone who plays your position better or is a step faster. As a result, you don’t always get the playing time you think you deserve. Having gone through this myself, I learned that I need to rely on God and trust in His timing and perfect plan. Ultimately, my investment in soccer and my team is more than minutes on the field. It is about allowing my time as a Wheaton athlete to transform me as a person and a teammate. It is about allowing God to use my experience on the field and on the team to teach me lessons about Christ-likeness wherever I go next and in wherever I take my experiences next.
Although my time competing for Wheaton and donning the blue and orange jersey has come to a close, I look back on these past four years with great fondness. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to play a sport I love alongside teammates that I love. Ultimately, participating in athletics at Wheaton has shaped me into the person I am today. And for that I am truly grateful.
Interested in athletics? Click the button to download our guide for getting a coach's attention!