Motivation or Distraction

Love on the field and in the classroom

Jasmin Linton (She/Her) // Contributor
Natasha Lee (She/Her) // Illustrator 

If there is one thing to agree on, it’s that school can be stressful, oftentimes just one part of a larger, crazier schedule. Student-athletes are one community that feels this stress more acutely than most. Athletes are constantly juggling academics, family, work, sports and relationships trying to find the perfect balance. However, for the majority, streamlining schedules like that can feel impossible. Balancing the responsibilities of sports and school on top of a love life comes with many pros and cons. It is no wonder the scale seems so evenly balanced between motivation and distraction. To elaborate on this balancing act of being a student-athlete, Maya Smith from the CapU women’s soccer team talks about her experience and gives some guidance about juggling her full schedule on top of her love life.

A rather obvious upside to being in a relationship on top of academics and athletics is the endless support and motivation. Keeping up with a sport, not just physically but mentally as well, can be incredibly difficult to sustain. Smith, having met her boyfriend at CapU as he also plays soccer on the men’s soccer team, talks about how they motivate and lean on each other. “My boyfriend’s consistent support, feedback, and advice have really added to my skills and knowledge as a player,” said Smith. 

Not only does this support have a positive impact on one’s mental well-being—it can also help maintain performance. Smith said “another bonus that comes from us being passionate and training towards the same goals is that we often train together in the off season.” Training together and sharing the same goals can hold athletes accountable and keep them on top of their game. As an added bonus, they might get to do them with their favourite person.

But is this kind of schedule realistic to maintain? With so many activities all jammed into one day, it’s important to prioritize tasks efficiently. Unfortunately, this can translate to one’s relationship moving to the backburner while deadlines and athletic responsibilities start stacking up. “FaceTime can be a lifesaver during peak times in the season and semester,” Smith explained on how she and her boyfriend manage to see each other amidst other priorities. Although this method of scheduling time for each other can be a good trick, she adds that “it isn’t ideal compared to being able to see each other whenever we want.” 

In any relationship, there will always be struggles to find time for both partner and personal commitments. These time constraints can be a pretty big downside with athletics added on top. Smith talks about how it can be difficult to find the time to focus on her relationship while balancing those other priorities, “I don’t like saying [my boyfriend] is my lowest priority when it comes to these things, however, since our lives are so intertwined with school and athletics, I don’t always have to worry about seeing him.” Smith feels privileged to have her love-life so intertwined with her sport. She talks about how she’s thankful to have someone to share her stresses with. “Dating within athletics means having someone I’m close with who not only understands everything I’m balancing but has the same experiences.” 

Navigating being a student-athlete is undeniably challenging. It only adds to the juxtaposition of academics and relationships, creating a delicate balance between motivation and distraction. Smith highlights her experience of having a supportive partner who shares similar goals and experiences. How, instead of being a distraction, the emotional and motivational support from a loving relationship can enhance both mental well-being and athletic performance.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *