I received an envelope in the mail yesterday from the NCAA, also known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Being seven years removed from college, I was curious to what it could be.
Naturally, it was a survey asking for my participation. I laughed and was about to tear it in half and send it on it way to the junk mail dumpster, when my fiancée grabbed it and started reading the questions. Turns out they wanted to know how athletics had affected my college education and subsequently impacted the working drone reality I presently reside in. I decided to take a second look.
For reference, from 1994 to 1996, I was part of a Division I collegiate wrestling team and I received nearly a three-quarter scholarship for it. After having achieved many accolades in high school wrestling, the college experience made me quite jaded to the sport that I had been a part of since 4th grade. The difference was that all semblance of fun and camaraderie that I had previously enjoyed about the sport were gone.
In college, the sport became a job. Practices twice a day, and highly exhausting ones at that. A good deal of traveling to other states during the season, although involvement was year round. Most participants were out for themselves because of the competitive environment that it was. I eventually had to quit because I had an injury that required surgery in order to continue. I opted for rehab instead and voluntarily surrendered my scholarship.
Back to the survey though, I found it quite ironic that the NCAA was looking to see if the aspects of collegiate athletics had an effect on how I viewed full-time employment. The similarities were uncanny, but not in a positive way.
Participating in a collegiate sport reflected many of the negative politics and of the work world that human resources like to sugar coat over. Think getting downsized is tough at work? Imagine being an 18 year old kid trying to get an education when the coach of your team gets forced to resign, and the new coach that's brought in subsequently tries to get every athlete that arrived before his tenure to quit.