It is the case, every year, that most students taking part in sport experience the continuous challenge of balancing academic commitments with extra-curricular activities. What continues to be an issue for many sporting participants is not so much the commitment to both the sporting and academics facets of student life, but rather the issue of whether commitment to the one suffers significantly as a result of the attention allotted to the other.
It is accepted that time management becomes particularly important for students looking to embrace the best that the university has to offer. Claudio Borges, a BCom Economics student playing football for the TuksFootball USSA side explains how challenging it can be. “It takes a lot of dedication. Sometimes we have training sessions in the mornings and afternoons, which can interfere with your classes,” he said.
Others have found it easier to achieve the desired balance. Lani Ras, an enthusiastic gymnast studying sports science at Tuks, insists the balance is about how much you are willing to put in. “The more you have to do, the more you will be able to do. That’s my motto,” he says. However, Ras does admit that he struggles with the balance at times. BSportSci student, Ivan Erasmus, is an avid rugby player, having represented Tuks at u/19 and u/20 levels. Erasmus maintains that prioritising commitments should play a big role for those involved with intense course subjects, as they are bound to face situations requiring compromise. “Training will sometimes eat into your personal time, sometimes it will happen that you just want to chill or do something else,” adds Erasmus.
Njabulo Ngcobo, another BSportSci student and football player looking to play professional football in South Africa or abroad, suggests that a combined view may exist among others faced with the challenge of having to make a continuous compromise between academics and sport.”Finding a balance was very hard in my first and second years because there are so many modules” says Ngcobo. He explained that as the years go by, the level of commitment to one’s studies becomes more negotiable as academic attention shifts away from the number of subjects enrolled to specialisation and quality of the course. Some of the more serious sport players are prepared to go the extra mile in their pursuit of athletic goals. “I’m doing my second degree so I can qualify to represent the student team,” says Robben Swart, a BSportSci graduate and current psychology student who hopes to play football professionally one day.He admitted his first degree was a challenge due to sporting commitments to the TuksFootball teams he represented. His story is common to other athletes who adopt a new degree after graduating because it offers them the opportunity to play further and also presents an opportunity to continue learning.
Photo: Joachim Lubbe