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No offseason for athletes

By Jeff Lund
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday Apr. 25, 2002

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:59 a.m., I walk in through the media entrance in McKale Center for my first class of the day, stumble down the long, cement ramp and hear the chatter and constant slapping of volleyballs.

At first, I was confused.

Due to my lack of sleep, my overworked brain actually believed it was volleyball season again. I am glad I came to my senses before I asked any players when their next game was.

After my brain clicked into gear, I started thinking about what the offseason is really about.

It's been months since coach Dave Rubio led his team to the Final Four, but that is a distant memory. Getting back there is the task at hand, and before I have even been able to rub the sleep from my eyes, his team is out there slapping away toward another successful season.

The season has long since ended, but the practice still continues - just not under any sort of microscope or TV camera.

We all put the fall sports in the back of our minds and expect them to just be better for next season, not really appreciating the sacrifice made in order to increase our viewing pleasure.

So it goes for all UA athletes. Following the final game, set, quarter or half, the second season begins. A season that is far from off.

In the afternoons, McKale is alive with the sound of basketballs and the voice of assistant coach Josh Pastner or associate head coach Jim Rosborough giving instruction to basketball players during a workout.

As I head off to Los Angeles in a couple weeks for a cruise down to Mexico, my season of schooling will be over. The hours and hours of studying will come to a halt and I will have more than three months of relaxation.

All the while, UA athletes will be hard at work to ensure we have better games played by better teams to watch starting next fall.

I will go to work dead-headed and make my tuition for next semester. The highest stress of the day will occur when I have to battle the Washington, D.C., beltway traffic in the afternoon.

No homework on the weekends, no homework at night, just night after night on the town or in front of a big screen TV eating healthy meals and not worrying about how much money I have on my CatCard, or how I am going to get to Los Betos at 3 a.m.

You can bet that very little effort, if any, will be put into improving my academic proficiency - which is one of the reasons I came to the university. Don't get my wrong, I am not going to sit around like a drooling vegetable all summer. I will have two jobs, but my summer schedule is far from vigorous.

Meanwhile, Wildcat athletes will be busting their hides day in and day out - as if their only purpose is to satisfy our hunger for success - to give us all more victorious stories to write and read about when the school year comes around.

We as fans should all take a moment to think about what our athletes will be doing as we kick back and return to our old stomping grounds.

Softball, baseball, Laxcats, golf - whatever. Before we leave for summer break, let's fill up the bleachers a bit more, if for no other reason than to get a little tan before departing Tucson.


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