“The Routine of a Student Sportswoman”

First of all, as a student, we all know how hard it is to strike the balance between work and play. With Messy Mondays in the SU, Thursday nights in the roost and trying to cram in some study, it is safe to say that the days of being a student are pretty hectic. So what is it like being a sportswoman at Maynooth University? Whether you are on scholarship or training on one of the college teams, I am here to fill you in on what college is like for all our fellow sportswomen, here on MU campus.

Many of us, including myself, have a very misconceived perception of the life of an MU sports scholar.  Free gym, free physio and diet plans tailored to your needs, sounds pretty good instead of living off pot noodles and microwavable dinners. However, being a sportswoman in college isn’t all fun and games. The daily routine of a sportswoman is constant and hard. Being a sports scholar isn’t something that just happens Monday through Friday, it is a routine that has to be followed all day everyday. I spoke to some of the sports women in Maynooth and asked them for an insight into their routine and how hard it can be.

Without a doubt there are high points and low points to being involved in sport while in college. From injuries to gruelling training sessions, one might eventually wonder, “What is the point? “Rachel Rafter, who received a football scholarship last year, took the time to tell us about her routine but also the sense of achievement and pride she takes in her sport.

Playing since she was seven years of age, when a football jersey would reach past her knees, Rachel has had a passion for football ever since she was a child. When she received a scholarship to Maynooth University, it came as no surprise. Talking to her, she mentions the difficulties of trying to balance the student life with that of the sports scholar and how it has both its advantages and disadvantages.

On commencing the scholarship she says how diet and GAA go hand in hand. Drinking bans before matches and staying away from two minute microwavable meals, she admits, was definitely a struggle. Therefore messy Mondays in the SU and Thursday nights in the roost were things that she inevitably missed out on. However despite this, Rachel says participating in a scholarship is so much more rewarding then missing out on “the sesh”. She says that having the opportunity to train and play, she has been able to reap the awards of being fit and healthy by doing something that she loves.

Another avid sports player on our campus is Jenna Sherwin who plays with the Maynooth women’s camogie team. Jenna has been playing camogie since she was ten and started playing camogie seriously when she turned fourteen. Her ambition continued on into college when she joined the Women’s camogie team in her first year, saying it was the best thing she ever did. She mentions that although training can be tough at times, playing in hail rain or snow, that balancing academic life was “actually easy”. She says that despite playing for a college team the tutors are very accommodating and the routine is manageable as you have friends on the team that do it with you, no matter how hard it gets!

Perhaps it is as Mia Hamm, award winning professional soccer player (1987-2004), says,

“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.”