NCAA Division III Week 2017
By Anthony Cangelosi (Olney, Md./Good Counsel)
Senior First Baseman
Each NCAA Division III Week, we are called upon to recognize the incredible impact that Division III athletics has on our student-athletes. Through collegiate sport at the Division III level, we student-athletes are pushed to accomplish our goals in the classroom; we strive to act as leaders for our campus communities where we give back, set examples for others, all the while having the unique opportunity to compete in the sport that we love every day. One of the greatest honors of being a student-athlete at the Division III level is that we have the opportunity to represent our institutions. As a four-year student-athlete for St. Mary's College of Maryland, I feel truly blessed to have received a great education at such a distinguished institution while also being provided the chance to contribute to the sport that I love on the baseball diamond. Every time that I button up my jersey and wear a Seahawk on my chest, I feel lucky to be playing for myself, my school, my teammates, coaches, fellow students, and all of the people who have been there for me.
Participating in Division III athletics is a luxury yet a constant grind. Whether it is getting up early for a 6am workout, heading off to class for the day feeling tired because I had to stay up really late studying after the doubleheader I played in the day before; all of the hours and the sacrifices are worth it. I could not imagine my life any other way, and through these sacrifices, I have grown to be the person I am today. Division III athletics has prepared me the right way. I have learned to focus and prioritize the things which are important. I have learned to set goals and to give my all every single day to achieve them, even when there is competition out there working against me. I have learned to fail, I have learned to come back from failure because "it is not what you do but how you do it", a motto, and a character, that I have developed through Division III athletics, one that has kept me on the field even during struggles. After a bad loss, or a tough exam, I have learned to keep swinging because there will always be another opportunity to try again. One of the greatest perks of being a Division III athlete is that it has helped encourage me to give back. Whether it was serving for Halloween at the ARC when all of our student-athletes hold Halloween-themed games/activities for the youth in our St. Mary's community, the canned food drives, Special Olympics, the smile that I put on a little kid's face makes everything worth it. Because of Division III athletics and studying sociology at St. Mary's College of Maryland, I am looking to pursue my dream of combining my love of sports and helping people in the community after I graduate. I will be interning with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation this summer where I will be able to help organize and implement outreach events for underprivileged youth living in America's most distressed communities. Using baseball as a platform to help build character in these kids, while teaching them important values, and showing them that there are people out there who care and also believe in them. Participating in Division III athletics has sparked my interest to continue pursuing my love for the sport, and to use the sport to touch the lives of others, just as baseball has done for me.
Each year we set a week aside to recognize the impact which Division III athletics has on our collegiate student-athletes and how playing at the collegiate level pushes us to grow in the classroom, on the field, and in our campus communities. Yet, one week is not enough to recognize the impact that Division III has had on my life every single day since I started at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Playing baseball and studying at St. Mary's has pushed me to be the best that I can be, it has set me up for my future, and it has made me into who I am today. I thank my teammates, coaches, faculty, fellow classmates, and the St. Mary's Athletic Department for making my four years at St. Mary's the greatest. Through Division III athletics I have met some of the best people and I will cherish the memories that I have made here forever.
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