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The hardships of relationships paired with athletics

by Gabriela Mendez

Many student-athletes find that they have a very complex schedule, juggling not only the academic part of college but also the athletic aspect of playing on a sports team. This is why many students find that being in a relationship while on a sports team is a whole other level of complexity but here at The University of Tampa many have found ways to work it out. 

An example of an athletic couple who has made it work is Guillermo Becchio, a sophomore majoring in finance, but is also a member of the men’s soccer team and has been in a relationship for over two months. 

Some hardships Becchio has faced with his girlfriend is trying to make time for each other. “Sometimes we need to be with our teams, for example when we have practices,” said Becchio. “That’s time that probably if we weren’t athletes we would have spent together.” 

Another example, Jill Brandenburger, a sophomore nursing major and is dating Angelo Picariello, a sophomore hockey player and economics major. They also face the same hardships as Becchilio and his girlfriend in making time for each other. 

Where Brandenburger said, “A struggle we face in regards to his sports life is that he is rarely around on the weekends which is when I have free time. He has games every Friday and Saturday night so when I can I try and go to his games to overcome this struggle but it can be challenging.”

But an athlete’s responsibility is vast and takes up these students’ schedules on a daily basis including their personal and academic schedules. 

“If I really thought about it, it is our responsibility as student-athletes to be there,” said Becchilo. “I mean if it was for me, I would be with my girlfriend every single second of the day, but we both have things that we need to do, and going to practice is one of those.”  

Becchio’s girlfriend, Grayson Hall, a junior beach volleyball player and marketing major, added that an important aspect for a relationship with someone on a sports team to work is to “Respect that they’re an athlete and give them their space.”

Not only is it important for a student-athlete to be aware of how important and time consuming their athletic calendar is, but it’s also important for their partner to be aware of how time-consuming it may be to one’s relationship. 

Brandenburger also said how “It is important to be patient with their busy sports lives and understand their passion for the game.”  

Some student-athletes also find that the dynamic with one’s team and their partner is also important for their relationship. 

I believe that the team members make it very easy to make me feel like I am a part of the team and welcomed to all their events,” said Brandenburger. “This aids in strengthening our relationship because the teammates understand the busy schedule we both have so they make games and events a very inviting atmosphere.” 

The most important factor of being in a relationship with a student-athlete who has a hectic schedule is making it a priority to make time for one another. 

Courtney Sherwood, a sophomore on the women’s swim team and a psychology major, has been with her boyfriend for a year and stated that, “Things we do to make time for each other are go grab dinner on campus together and then go study. Most of the time we try to get our work done so that we can hang out later.” 

Luckily, one unique aspect of these relationships between student-athletes at UT is that many of them and their partners who are on sports teams usually have practice around the same time benefiting them in several ways. 

Sherwood and her boyfriend are both on the swim team and states that this benefits them greatly. 

“I like being on the same sports team because we understand each other better. It’s really fun to watch him race and be able to support him,” said Sherwood. “I think it would be a lot harder to make time for each other and see each other if we were on different teams because we would have different schedules.” 

Dating overall is already a heavy commitment that comes with its hardship but for athletes, there is another level of hardships with their busy athletic schedules that one goes through with dating someone involved in a sports team.

A tip from Becchio for people in relationships with student-athletes is to, “Enjoy every moment. Being in a relationship is the best thing in the world, especially if you are in one with the right person as I am,” said Becchilo. “I say enjoy every moment because sometimes as student-athletes you don’t get many. And I think that is what makes it worth it. Knowing that I might not be with her in the following hour just makes me appreciate every single moment I get with her. And I think everybody should feel the same way.”

Gabriela Mendez can be reached at gabriela.mendez@spartans.ut.edu

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