Having a Field Day
For Tufts' student-athletes, balancing impressive feats on the field with similarly notable work in the classroom and community is all in a day's work.
Picture this: You wake up and go to class, cleats slung over your shoulder. After class, you head to the field and make a critical play against a conference rival. Emerging victorious, you celebrate with your teammates in the locker room. But the celebration can't last too long. You need to get to your meetings for your club and service project before hitting the books. When your head touches the pillow, you know that tomorrow will be much the same.
And you love every second of it.
Welcome to life as a Jumbo. For Tufts' student-athletes competing in the Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)—more than 15 percent of the undergraduate student body—every day is an exercise in discipline, requiring a careful balance among practice, games, schoolwork, service and other activities. But even while they rack up a bevy of NESCAC and NCAA titles, Tufts' student-athletes are also excelling both off the field, learning lessons from one that translate to the other.
We spoke with six Jumbos, representing a wide range of the athletic and academic experience at Tufts, about what they do, how they do it, and what keeps them going. Whether these young people make their home in the pool or on the track, one common theme emerges: no matter what successes or challenges they may encounter as student-athletes, the camaraderie that comes from belonging to a team makes it all worthwhile.
Profiles written by Georgiana Cohen
Action photo of Kunkes by Joanie Tobin, Tufts University Photo. Action photo of Hester by Melody Ko, Tufts University Photo. Other images courtesy of Paul Sweeney, Department of Athletics
This story originally ran on Apr. 2, 2007.