Home » The Write Inspiration Blog » Student-Athletes » Sports Reveals A Fight For Student-Athletes Unseen By the Average Fan

Sports Reveals A Fight For Student-Athletes Unseen By the Average Fan

Every Spring, millions worldwide are swept away by the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as they watch men’s and women’s student-athletes try to lead their teams to college basketball glory.

Every Spring, we witness these student-athletes, not as superhumans but as individuals pushing themselves to the limits.

We see them striving for excellence, and sometimes, they falter, revealing their vulnerability in these moments.

Think about the last time your favorite team or someone you were cheering for fell short of the intended goal. Do you remember the wave of emotion that followed, the tears that fell, the hugs they gave?

Perhaps you empathized with those student-athletes as if you also suffered the loss. I have a time or two.

But there’s something the casual fan of March Madness and even sports media either forgets or intentionally overlooks far too often: These student-athletes are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, friends, and family members. Essentially, they are just like you and me.

That’s why it should hit a little differently when you think about a student-athlete receiving death threats, being bullied online, or being called out by media personalities because they had a bad game, talked some trash, or didn’t fit the narrative that we created in our minds.

We have seen several student-athletes express emotion, have a moment of vulnerability, and remind us that the struggle is real, just like Angel Reese did during her postgame press conference following her team’s loss to Iowa. Maybe she received criticism because people thought it wasn’t the time and place for that. Perhaps some thought she was deflecting. Maybe others enjoyed seeing her in that state of mind because they aren’t fans of Angel Reese.

Regardless of how you felt about her postgame press conference, Angel Reese did something that we need to normalize, not just for student-athletes but for human beings in general.

Just imagine if you had a bad day at work, the kids were acting crazy, you were not seeing eye-to-eye with your spouse, and family and friends were criticizing you. After all these events, you have to hold a press conference in front of media members who may or may not have their agenda and provide answers that will be turned into soundbites and played for the world to hear.

Would you want anyone to fault you for expounding on your situation, all you have been going through, and being transparent about those struggles?

Some might be more inclined to internalize those struggles or be uncomfortable discussing them publicly, but that’s a matter of preference.

The bottom line is that Angel Reese did what student-athletes do every year when a season or collegiate career has ended.

They reflect and show raw emotion. Most importantly, they remind us they could be our son, daughter, brother, sister, niece, nephew, cousin, friend, or you and me.

Every Spring, while we enjoy the excitement of March Madness, filling out our brackets, and rooting for our favorite teams, we must also embrace and appreciate the humanity that shapes the student-athletes we watch.


Jason A. Dixon has developed into one of the top youth motivational speakers and leading voices for middle school, high school, and college students by combining a mission-driven passion and a powerful message. A former sportswriter, Coach Jason left behind his journalism career in 2007 and embarked on a path that would allow him to impact young people more significantly. After serving as a high school and college basketball coach, behavioral health specialist, and educator, Coach Jason started Inspire 2 Reach Higher, a youth motivational speaking company, in 2013. His informational, insightful, and inspiring content has been shaped by his journalism experience and years of writing the untold stories of students and the adults who care about them.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments