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Being a multisport athlete

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Students share the challenges of playing for two teams at Bethel.

By Tatiana Lee

When Taite Anderson wakes up, she turns off her alarm and rolls into her giant bean bag chair. If she didn’t have twenty boxes to check off for the day, maybe she’d press the snooze button every once in awhile. But this fall, she knew every day was going to be a busy one. Sure, it had a little bit to do with the fact that she’s pre-med or that she has a boyfriend or that she has two jobs: in the mailroom and for the athletics department. But mostly, her teeter-totter days had to do with the fact that she played golf and basketball simultaneously.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she’d dodge her classes to head to golf practice from 4-6:30. Then if she was lucky she’d eat a snack before lacing up for basketball practice from 7-8:30. On weekends when there was a golf match, she’d spend 7-8 hours competing. Her off days aren’t really off days – they are days to catch up on studying for her biology tests or slipping in an hour to buy toothpaste and shampoo at Target.

Anderson is a biokinetics major and a multi-sport athlete. This fall, she played both basketball and golf.

 

110117_Andersongolf
Anderson swings and watches the ball in a golf match this season. She quit golf after the season because playing golf and basketball was too much to handle. Photo submitted by Taite Anderson.

 

Her drive for competition fuels her drive for the hectic schedule. Anderson’s father, Trent, coaches the women’s golf team at Bethel and needed another player, so she signed up, under one condition: he had to buy her a new pair of basketball shoes.

Now that the golf season is over, she’s a little freer with her time – but free is still a generous word. She won’t be playing golf again, and her boyfriend JJ Wahlquist is grateful for it. When she’s in season, especially when she’s in both sports, time together is much more scarce.

And although basketball is equivalent to an unpaid part-time job, Anderson’s love for the game makes it worth playing. When she was a little girl she hated basketball and loved baseball. But as soon as Anderson’s parents convinced her to play in fourth grade, it’s been her favorite sport.

“I love the physicality of basketball and how it is such an unpredictable game,” Anderson said. “There are so many different roles on a team and it’s interesting to see how everyone fits and makes the team work.”

Plus, Anderson loves ice cream, so when the basketball team wins, nothing tastes better than a spoonful of victory ice cream.

The most difficult thing Anderson went through when playing two sports was the transition from each sport into the next. She believes encouragement is key and making sure everyone on the team feels loved is huge.

Adri Tjeerdsma is a sophomore nursing major at Bethel University. She is involved in two sports, soccer and basketball, on top of the rigorous schedule a nursing major demands.

“Having the opportunity to play both sports really drew me in,” Tjeerdsma said. “Both teams, coaches and communities are different and I am so blessed to be a part of it all.”

Tjeerdsma grew up playing soccer and basketball. When it came to deciding which sport to play in college, she couldn’t choose. She doesn’t favor one over the other. Tjeerdsma loves basketball when in season, and gives 100 percent of herself during soccer season.

Amanda Maxwell, head coach of the women’s soccer team says, “It takes a special athlete to manage the academic, social, spiritual aspects, as well as playing in a highly competitive conference.”

Tjeerdsma knows when it begins to interfere with her social life, academics and sleep. She knows when it’s time to take a step back and recognize if she’s spreading herself too thin.

“One downside of being a multi-sport athlete is not always being able to give your all in everything you do.”

On the positive side, she added, it helps her prioritize her time, forces her to think ahead and plan days in advance.

She’s had enough setbacks, as she tore her ACL twice on her right leg and her meniscus on the same leg. She’s overcome the idea that her body is continually holding her back and plays the sports she is in love with.

She’ll tell you she has no hobbies, but she enjoys hanging out with friends and being out on the lake.

She has one thing to say after all she has gone through, “Whatever you are doing, do it with your full heart and with passion.”

Additional Reporting by Maddie DeBilzan

 

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