Hard work, teamwork, lifelong memories
Mandatory morning lifts, classes from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., practice from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., home to shower and eat and then homework.
This is every day life for SF State senior pitcher Jordan Yrastorza.
It is also similar to the lives of athletes in other sports as they work to balance education and the sport they love to play.
“It’s a huge responsibility being a part of a collegiate team and I don’t think anyone really understands it to its full capacity,” said senior goalie Christina Holguin. “Practice is draining, games are draining. Some of us have to pick up jobs to help with expenses.”
It’s a lot of additional work, but Yrastorza says it becomes easier when you get into a routine.
“Sometimes it’s tough, but once you get into a daily routine it just becomes second nature and you don’t really think about how tough it is because this is what you, as an athlete, sign up for,” Yrastorza said.
Once these athletes find their routine they enjoy playing the sport they love, building leadership skills and learning how to work as a team.
That doesn’t only apply to sports supported by the athletic program. The rugby club supports its own team managed by the members.
“Ever since I got here as a freshman I’ve worked my way up to a leading role,” co-captain of the rugby team Victor Mendez said. “I’m co-captain of the rugby team and it’s a big responsibility, especially with being a student- ran organization. We have to really be on top of our own guys.”
Mendez earned the respect of his peers and it showed when he was named co-captain, an honor that is voted on by his teammates.
Athletics on campus isn’t just about leadership, but about lasting relationships. Holguin said it’s about being a unit.
“Playing college sports means so much than just playing a specific sport,” Holguin said. “It’s about unity, teamwork, being a part of something that is bigger than ourselves. Being a part of this team and program meant that we worked for each other and off of each other.”
Holguin is not alone. Yrastorza echoed Holguin when he said that his favorite memory of his time at SF State is not any one game or series during the season, but an inter-team coach-drafted five game series. Yrastorza was drafted to the purple team who had not won a game the previous two years.
“We lost game one. Then in game two I came into the game tied 0-0 and pitched 4 scoreless innings, we scored four runs making it 4-0,” Yrastorza said. “I was pulled due to pitch count and the black team came back with a 3-run homerun making it a one run game. We kept them to it and won the game, it was the first time in Gator history the purple team won. It was really fun being a part of that.”
Holguin said that despite the hard work these will be some of the best memories of their lives.
“Being apart of SF State’s women’s soccer team was the best decision I made when choosing which college to further my education at and play soccer,” Holguin said. “The coaches here, Tracy (Hamm), Val (Henderson) and every coach that has voluntarily coached us have been the best. They have contributed as well as the team to two of the greatest years in my life.”