Letter to the editor: Take a walk in an athlete’s shoes before judging

Emily Goldstein

Dear Iowa State Daily (more specifically Darrin Cline),

As a student-athlete at Iowa State, I find this last article you ran in the Daily highly offensive for many different reasons. I realize this is an opinion article, but opinions should be based on facts, not fabrications and elaborations.

Going through the article, there were bold statements made that had no legitimate factual evidence to back them up. First, referring to the “closets full of ISU gear” that athletes get is a complete exaggeration. Student-athletes get one or two sweatshirts/sweats a year that are issued (meaning we have to return it), and this is what we wear to class every day. So for you to be upset that we are not sporting the gear we get is not true. Every day to school I wear the issued gear I am given for my sport.

I invite you to take a walk in my shoes for a day. On a regular basis, we have workouts at 6 in the morning, treatment for our nagging injuries that we never address for fear of having to sit out, then to go to class with a full class schedule varying from 12 to 18 credits, and then turn around and have practice later that day for three-plus hours.

When are we supposed to find time to dress up for class? We are constantly on the go; when we aren’t practicing or getting treatment, we are in class. I’m sorry if we do not dress up enough for you, but by the time regular students get up and get ready for an 8 a.m. class, I have already been up for more than two hours doing more than you will probably do all day, so I’m not sorry that we can’t find the time to dress up in polos and business attire clothing every day. We try to be as presentable as possible given the schedules we have.

Student-athletes have worked extremely hard to be where we are today. For more than 16 years, I have been working as hard as possible to be in the position to have an opportunity to be a Division I athlete. I think I speak for the entire student-athlete population when I say we have sacrificed all of our time and energy into our sports — which includes missing family events, dances in high schools and hanging out with friends — because we were doing something we loved. We have earned everything we have achieved thus far in our athletic careers. We have earned the perks of being an athlete because of the many sacrifices we have made throughout our lives, so I do not think you are truly doing the athletic community justice with this article because you have never been in the situation we are in.

As student-athletes, we give back to the community. Within the student-athlete community, we have a competition between the sports of who can put in the most community service hours. We take this very seriously, and every year it is a battle on who wins this competition. On top of that, we sign autographs after competitions for the kids who come to watch our games, and if fans ever are to recognize student-athletes outside of the game, we take pride and have respectable conversations with them.

We are not perfect people and we make mistakes, but honestly I have never met a person who is perfect in every aspect. We aspire to be the best people we can be and sometimes we fall short, but we always get back up with our heads held high. You may disapprove or think we “lack respectability,” but until you walk a day in our shoes, I do not believe you have any room to talk. It is always easier to judge from the outside looking in. I believe this article is a misrepresentation of the athletic community and feel you have made false statements without knowing the real truth.