This is Sideline Stories. A platform where NE10 student-athletes can share their collegiate experiences in an unfiltered environment - using their voices to promote growth and positive change in our league and overall in NCAA Division II athletics.
Assumption baseball player Brendan Desautels, Co-Chair of the NE10 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, shares his thoughts. Here is his Sideline Story:
The designated goal for the NCAA Division II SAAC in 2019 is labeled as “total package student-athlete”, and it’s a very fair goal. When most people read it, they typically think of a high GPA, community service hours logged, and maybe even All-Conference honors. I know at first glance, that’s what popped into my mind.
While trying to write my Sideline Story, I kept thinking back to the goals of the NE10. The more I thought about it, the harder it was for me to define what a “total package” is as a student-athlete. Is it about being involved on campus? Winning scholar-athlete awards? There was no black and white way for me to express what the total package was.
As a sophomore in 2019, Desautels made 12 appearances and recorded 50.0 IP for the Greyhounds.
One of the more complex ideologies of student-athletes is that our goals are constantly evolving. I remember walking onto the Assumption baseball team- my senior year of high school, it was the only thing that mattered to me. I never got the experience of signing an NLI, and was left off every high school All-Star team. I can remember watching (quite literally) all my friends pose for pictures after the All-Star game, while I was stuck at home and embarrassed. I remember thinking, “If I could just get on a college team, then I’ll be happy’. Well sure enough, I made the team. Goal accomplished, right?
Desautels was recently named Co-Chair of the NE10 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
The morning after I made the team, I remember a huge wave of pressure coming over me. Nobody cares that you made the team. People will congratulate you, and you will feel great for a few hours. But, sooner or later, you have to realize it’s time to get to work. So right away, the biggest goal I ever had for myself was in the rearview, and I felt almost no sense of accomplishment following tryouts. I didn’t want to just be on the team, I wanted to contribute.
My story is no different than anyone else’s. Any athlete can relate to the fact that there is a great deal of hype heading into college athletics. The first reality check for every college freshman is that nobody cares who you were in high school. You’re in college now, and the only thing that matters is that you’ve done nothing there yet. I liked that about college, because for me, I didn’t have the high school accolades. It was on an even playing field from the start.
Not far into my freshman season, I started to contribute. A few decent performances, more than a few bad ones. Once I became a regular out on the mound, I found a new goal. I wanted to be reliable. This is where the complexity I previously discussed comes in. My biggest goal was to be on the team, then I wanted to contribute as a freshman; next, I wanted to be reliable, and finally, I wanted to be a well-rounded athlete, teammate and friend.
Assumption baseball qualified for the 2019 NCAA East Regional, the first time since 2009.
I’m very fortunate to be physically capable, as well as have unwavering support from my family and friends, but nothing for me is ever ‘good enough’. I get decent grades, but for some reason, every semester, I question myself. What could a couple more hours a week in the library have done to help me? How much better would my GPA be? I said I wanted to make the Honor Roll, and I did, but Honor Roll isn’t as good as Dean’s List. It is a constant struggle to achieve goals that actually make you feel a sense of achievement. Walking onto the baseball team seemed like it would take some weight off of my shoulders when I made it, but it didn’t. No matter how much I involve myself, I still feel like I’m not doing ‘enough’.
I think there is a silent issue among student-athletes to constantly feel like they’re always falling short of their larger goals. The term “total package” sounds like a finished product. For athletes who are constantly striving to achieve, yet still feeling as though they fall short, they will never get the feeling they are the total package. My advice to my peers is to never stop trying; because having these goals and aspirations are what wake people up in the morning, but don’t be afraid to take a step back and recognize that where you are right now is exactly what you were dreaming of at one point.