As a student at UCLA you are always exposed to people on campus who have very different lives from your own. One large segment of this population at UCLA are student athletes. They are just as much a student as anybody else at UCLA but often they are looked upon as something else by the student body. After all, this is UCLA, the home of great past athletes such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Arthur Ashe, Jackie Robinson, or current stars like Chase Utley or Maurice Jones-Drew who were all once students just like us. A great thing about being at UCLA is that you get to interact with these athletes. They attend the same classes and live in the same places as you. I am friends with some who live right across the hall from me, and one who I will live with next year. Hearing their stories and experiences is very interesting and it is crazy to think about what they must do every day while at college. I am amazed that they can do so well in school while getting up at 5 am every day to go to practice and work outs.
I had the awesome opportunity of getting to tour the athletic facilities today, something that a regular student does not often get the chance to do. First and foremost, the athletics hall of fame which is open to everyone, is a must see. Being able to see the 108 national championship trophies in our hall of fame absolutely blew me away. And getting a chance to basically sit in John Wooden’s den left me speech less. Next we got the more exclusive tour of the training facilities and the athletes’ academic center. I got to watch our most recent champions, the women’s volleyball team work out. I’m sure many NCAA volleyball coaches are jealous of the exclusive sneak peak I got at UCLAs 108th national champion!
The next stops on the tour were the football offices and rooms. They certainly have it nice! It was amazing all the cool stuff they have. Many people wonder if it is worth it to put so much money into our athletics, but I think athletics is a very important part of the UCLA experience. Our athletes are great ambassadors for our school, and it makes me very proud to be able to root them on and call some of them my friends!