‘Life is a competition’
Truth be told, many regular students envy student athletes for having special privileges in school. Athletes are automatically exempted from class or school activities, especially during tournaments.
But these athletes also deal with their own struggles, as they juggle academics and their respective sports.
Like regular students, they have to fulfill various requirements to pass a subject and are still expected to attend lectures and take tests and exams.
Ren Ugalde, a player of the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde varsity volleyball team, recounts the challenges he had to hurdle in school: “I struggled while working on my thesis. Training with the team and attending classes took a toll on my health and my group mates as well. But we did a good job, and our paper was presented in Taiwan.”
Since student athletes are actually more busy than regular students, Ugalde learned to practice time management.
“Every time we were given assignments, I’d do them right away so as not to procrastinate,” he says.
Meeting the demands
He needs to be physically fit and healthy to meet the demands of volleyball. He’s been getting the hang of it—the long training sessions, the strict diets.
Suffering injuries is another challenge. “I have been injured a few times, from a simple sprain to trimalleolar (ankle) fracture,” he recalls. Fortunately, he has been able to bounce back after every injury.
His inspiration is his father, a former varsity basketball player of the University of Santo Tomas. He admires his dad, who also suffered a major injury but was able to play again.
A lot of student athletes are out there to pass their academics and win games for their school. Most of them have made names and attained success at a young age. But they didn’t get there without first doing their homework, so to speak.
Ugalde concedes that, much as the goal of athletes is to win, it is always important to look at games as healthy competition.
He says, “A lot of people want the same spot as you do, so you have to work twice or thrice as much to get it.”
As a volleyball player, Ugalde believes that the road to success is not easy. “It takes hard work, patience and perseverance to win,” he admits. “At times, all the blood, sweat and tears are not enough. The Japanese saying, ‘Nana korobi ya oki,’ meaning to fall down seven times and to get up eight times, is motivation for resilience. Life is a competition and being an athlete trains you to face the challenges head on.” —CONTRIBUTED
Photography Miguel Alomajan
Styling Luis Carlo San Juan
Grooming and Hairstyle Theresa Padin and Mong Amado
Fashion by SM Youth
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