More Than Just a Student-Athlete

BY ALY KOHANOWSKI | Ball State Sports Link | Ball State Soccer
Being a Division I student-athlete is one of the most demanding, yet rewarding experiences I have ever been a part of. The friendships I have made throughout my collegiate soccer career will last far beyond the four years of running up and down the soccer field.

There is no way to describe the feeling of winning back-to-back Mid-American Conference Championships with 25 of my best friends by my side.


That 30-second rush of adrenaline after the referee blew his final whistle, the dog piles, the post-game victory locker room dance parties among many other memories. All things I will never forget.

The life lessons the game of soccer has taught me both on and off the field are never ending and I am forever thankful to my coaches, teammates and trainers for providing me with such unforgettable experiences.

At the end of my sophomore season, I suffered an ACL and meniscus tear causing me to sit the sidelines for my entire junior season.

During this time of sitting out of practices, games, weights and conditioning, I began to feel like something was missing.

All throughout college, I constantly had my parents on my back reiterating that my soccer career won’t last forever and it was more important to concentrate on my schooling.

Halfway through my junior year, I found out that I would have to undergo another series of knee surgeries causing me to sit my senior year of soccer. It was during this time that it dawned on me that my parents were right. I didn’t have a plan for after school.

As I began to realize that my soccer career was coming to an end, I started thinking about what I wanted in my future.

Most students go to college and find a major that they enjoy and will continue to pursue for their future jobs. I didn’t have that …yet.

I floated around from major to major—health science, advertising and sport administration, never feeling like I would enjoy making a career out of any of them.

I wanted the best of both worlds — having a job I would enjoy, and having a job that would allow me to work in what I know best — sports.

Ball State Sports Link was something I only knew about from the typical athlete’s perspective. They come to our practices, film highlights and produce feature stories on athletes.

Little did I know that this was just a small piece to the puzzle of the many things they do.

One of my close friends, J.C. Obringer — an aspiring live event director — often would be at our teams shoots and ESPN3 events with Ball State Sports Link. I became curious as to what they all did and after learning more about it I realized this was it. This was what I wanted to do.

Digital Sports Production offers skills and applications using digital technology to create sports content for distribution across multiple platforms. Emphasis is given to live event production to ESPN platforms and storytelling.

Since being involved in Sports Link, I now really do get the “best of both worlds.” I still get the experience of being a Division I athlete, but also am able to prepare for a future career in the Digital Sports Production field with hands on experience.

Although I have only been a part of this program for a few months, the opportunities I have been presented with allow me to consistently learn new things.

Author: Sports Link Staff

Sports Link showcases Cardinal student-athletes’ accomplishments on the field, in the classroom and within the surrounding community. Follow @bsusportslink on all social media platforms.

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