Every year, many people in Plattsburgh bring their kids to watch the Cardinals battle against rivals and compete in the SUNYAC conference. It is most evident at the hockey games, where you see that 6-year-old boy wearing a hockey jersey that is about two sizes too big and acts as more of a dress than a shirt. The boy mounts his father’s shoulders as he watches his heroes take the ice, but does he really know the extent of how important and involved his heroes actually are?
In the modern-day world of collegiate sports, the athletes are held to the highest of standards. Whether it is on or off the field, the athletes of PSUC are individuals that are experienced in all aspects of student life. In last week’s column, the relationship between student-athletes and schoolwork was discussed. However, an athlete’s presence is not limited to the campus or playing fields here at PSUC. Student-athletes are encouraged to give back to the community by serving hours of community service.
According to gocardinalsports.com, “Community service is an integral part of the student-athlete experience, the Cardinal athletic teams clock well over 3,000 hours of community service each year.”
Now on top of schoolwork and practice, it may be tough for the average athlete to the find time in their day to complete these hours, which is more than understandable, but this is what the student-athlete at PSUC is all about. It is about taking things to the next level, both physically and mentally, to achieve greatness.
One of the foundations the PSUC teams have volunteered for over the years is the North County Down Syndrome Association, otherwise known as NCDSA. The organization helps children in the area with Down syndrome, and the athletes interact with these children to help them achieve their life goals.
Not only do PSUC athletes give their time to the NCDSA, they also donate money annually to help this organization prosper. Throughout the years, the NCDSA has estimated that the Cards have donated roughly $10,000 to the organization, most of the money coming from the men’s hockey team.
Most of the earnings come from the team’s participation in the Buddy Walk, a walk sponsored every year by the NCDSA. The mission of this walk is described by the organization as a way to, “promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.” This event had enabled the PSUC teams to donate an astonishing $2,500 to the organization through their involvement in the walk.
The point of this whole article is to break away from the stereotype of the typical jock and force people to think outside of their comfort zone. So next time you see one of the athletes in your class, don’t think they are learning for a fraction of the price just because they are more skilled than you at throwing a ball or shooting a puck. Although opportunities for athletes may be in more abundance when it comes to college recruiting, the athletes still earn their place.
Email Kevin Morley at firstname.lastname@example.org