So it’s that time of year again to start heading back to school. It sucks. Luckily, though, fall baseball is upon us and it’s a great time for intersquad scrimmages and, if you’re NAIA like me, then that means games in the fall that count for your spring record. Anyways, I didn’t have any tips going into my freshman year because I was pretty much the only one out of my family to play college ball. It sucked trying to figure it out on the fly and understand how to handle a full class load and how to handle myself on the baseball field in such a completely different setting. With that being said, I wanted to help all of you out that may be nervous as you shuffle your way into the locker room.
Before reading this, take a moment and give yourself a pat on the back for making it to college ball. No matter where you are playing, it is still an accomplishment and you can tell your kids you played for a while longer. Now, prepare yourself; it’s gut check time.
- Shut your mouth.
You probably shouldn’t speak unless spoken too. Most upperclassmen prefer the freshman to be seen and not heard; it’s a simple matter of seniority and learning your place. No one likes that kid who just spews about how he hit .350, was All-Conference, and All-Area. No one cares about that because news flash, everyone did that. Your teammates wouldn’t be there if they didn’t accomplish the things you did.
I didn’t know this going into my freshman year. I was hotshot that hit .420 and I thought I was better than everyone else. I talked a bunch of shit and got in trouble with the upperclassmen during the intersquad world series because I didn’t shut my mouth. I did start as a freshman so I received some recognition from the upperclassmen but not as much as I would have if I would have just shut my trap.
- You’re going to get hazed.
“Oh no, that doesn’t happen in college.” Ha. I laugh every time. It happens at every level you go to. It could be having to swipe the upperclassmen into the cafeteria to having to dress up like a princess and walk around campus and everything in between. Every college will do something to the new guys because that’s what the culture is. Hell, even the MLB does it so man up.
I can’t tell you what you will experience, but I can tell you that it will happen. I’ve had a few things happen to me where I had to wear a princess back pack to having to sing “I’m a Barbie Girl” on karaoke. As a junior now, I “tax” the freshman. It’s nothing too bad, but when we’re having dinner or some kind of meal, I just take a few things off of one of the freshmen’s plates.
- Don’t complain or whine.
No one likes a pussy. Do your job; it’s time to man up and fight for what you want. No need to say more.
4. Go to all of your classes.
Yeah, I know school blows and baseball is the best thing around. But guess what. You’re a student-athlete now and you actually have to take academics seriously. In college, though, classes matter and so do grades because if you’re not eligible, you don’t play. If you’re not eligible, you probably just fucked your team over and your boys aren’t going to like that.
For me, school comes easy because I’m a nerd and I love to read and write. For others that struggle with that sort of thing, get a tutor or have a teammate help you out. Now is the time to figure out what you excel in and what you need help with. Do not keep quiet about how you’re failing a class. Say something a get the help you need because it will not only fuck yourself over, but it will fuck your team over as well.
- For the love of God, have fun.
I’ve had too many people come up to me and complain about how their not having fun because baseball is taking up too much of their time. If you thought you were going to have free time as a college athlete, you’re probably the dumbest person on the face of their earth. You know how you have fun, play baseball because it’s the best sport in the world and its fun as hell if you play well. Like I said above, don’t complain or whine about how you have to go from workouts to class to practice to studying. Get used to it. You’re going to be sore and you’re going to have no spare time to go to that party you were invited to if you want to pass all of your classes.
Don’t get me wrong, you can go to parties or the bars if you want to, but just try to knock out a couple paragraphs of that paper that is due Monday before you go out. You’ll thank me later.
There you go, the top five tips that I could come up with for all of you freshman. Now, go have fun and keep your trap shut.