The misconceptions behind Division 3 athletics


The raw love for my sports that engulf my entire being all-day, every day is what calculates my worth within sports, not the division at which I play. The aura that shapes the sports world is one of “Division 1 or none.” Consequently, I fell into that trap at a young age with my sports, yet after years of overthinking and being pushed in several directions, my ultimate decision to pursue both soccer and basketball at the D3 level is one that has made me the happiest in all aspects. 

There are so many negative connotations about the vast majority of topics in our world today, but only a handful are sincere enough to be considered true. Originally, back in my freshman and sophomore year, I truly did not believe that I would ever find myself attending a small school, especially to play both sports I love. However, perspectives in life change, things you thought were crucial seem to unload in their intensities, and the small things are what become important. Truthfully, I could sit for hours and talk your ear off about why I chose the school I did, the perks of a small school, the positive aspects of playing D3, and the different types of environments you find in all college scenarios, but that is my opinion. That is my take on the topic of playing D3 sports, and it is something that not everyone will agree with, and it is something that I don’t expect everyone to agree with. 

So many athletes look down upon the idea of playing at the Division 3 level. They believe that almost anyone remotely athletic could walk on to any team and play. Even some friends have made comments about how they can just go and play D3 anywhere to “stay in shape” because it “doesn’t really matter at that division.” These subtle comments don’t click in their minds when they say it aloud at first, because it is a societal norm to think that way. They then proceed to quickly glance at me and apologize. I am not offended by the words. I know I have worked my entire life to be where I am today, yet the way they say it stings sometimes. Since the age of six, I have traveled the country for both soccer and basketball, had two practices per day in addition to school, have missed dances, birthdays, family gatherings, etc. for my sports, and I know the decision I have made to go to Wheaton stands at the top of my list and is what I am proud of. 

As an athlete, this is something that has stuck with me since I began the college commitment process: “It is about more than just your sports. It is about the environment, the education, but most of all, the feeling you have when you’re there. You need to feel like you are home.” When it comes down to it, you need to choose what will allow you to prosper the most as an athlete and as a person. You should not dismiss D3 schools purely off of the division at which they play. There have been a lot of times in my life where I have doubted myself, but my decision for where I will spend the next four years of my life was never one of those times.