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Thanks to graduating Wildcats


Congratulations to all students who are graduating this semester. In today's world a college degree is so necessary that graduating doesn't seem that important any more. The accomplishment of completing your collegiate education doesn't seem as great because, well, everyone does it.



But it is an accomplishment, and we all deserve congratulations. It wasn't easy. Not all of us did it in four years, and some didn't even do it in five. And during our time spent at school we all dealt with different issues that seemed to hold us back every semester – difficult classes, problems with friends, problems at home, etc.

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But while we should all be proud of ourselves, I think we should all take a second to especially congratulate the Arizona athletes that are graduating this semester.



Talk about difficulty. In addition to what every other student needs go through, athletes need to go through it too — on top of year-round workouts, practices and meetings. Yes, there are perks, but the life of an athlete is not as glamorous as it seems.



The truth is that being a collegiate athlete is really, really hard. Not everyone can do it. And I don't just mean the people who aren't 6-foot-4 and can run a 4.45 40-yard dash. Being a college athlete is demanding, and it takes an incredible amount of mental toughness to do it.



I can't imagine what these Division-I athletes go through. I played football at the Division-III level for two years before transferring to the UA, and I admit that I was overwhelmed by the commitments – and that was only playing at a level that didn't require the intense workouts that D-I athletes need to succeed, was only played in front of 1,000, maybe 2,000 people and had no media coverage whatsoever.



These athletes at Arizona have to work day in and day out just to stay competitive. And then they have to answer to people in the media or angry fans that, most of the time, don't know what they're talking about and never truly played competitive sports.



Take a look at Jamelle Horne, for example. You all know him. He was the athlete that every Wildcat fan loved to hate. He was a scapegoat for almost every thing. His poor fouls when he was younger, missing an open three in the loss to UConn this year, etc.



But before every Wildcat fan rushed to Twitter or Facebook to rip him apart, did they ever stop and actually assess the situation?



Some things that I urge Arizona students to consider in the years ahead when one of the school's sports teams has some sort of meltdown (which we've learned, in all honesty, will happen at least once a season):



One player is not singlehandedly responsible for a loss. Ever.



The tasks these athletes are handed are extremely difficult. Please don't yell at the TV that you could've made that shot or caught that ball. Odds are you couldn't have.



A loss does not signify the end of these players' lives, nor should it yours. Teams will lose games, but teams will then move on almost immediately. You should too. (Sidenote: You aren't on the team. Please don't refer to them as ""us"" or ""we."")



Lastly, and most importantly, these student-athletes are human beings. And they're asked to do things at such a young age that you will never be asked to do. Respect them.



In closing, to all the seniors graduating: congratulations. I know that I could not be happier to be done with school. But also, if you see an athlete during the ceremonies, thank them for all of their hard work.



— Tim Kosch is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.



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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (12/4)
744 14 1.9%
Total (8/2)
64,794 1,040 1.6%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated December 5, 2021