After the Whistle

Playing Like A Kid

Playing like a Kid by Trey Smith, a baseball and football player

 

There are usually two questions that follow when someone learns that I play two sports.

How? And Why?

The second question, the reason why I play two sports, stems from my life back in Texas and how I was raised.

I grew up in a house with three other brothers. I am a triplet with an older brother as well, so growing up the four of us always stayed extremely competitive with one another in just about all of our daily activities. We were able to start a game outside whenever we wanted with each other or any of the other neighborhood kids.

One of the games that we would play was “stickball,” which was just a makeshift baseball game with the shafts of broomsticks, a tennis ball, and light poles and mailboxes as bases. Living in Texas made it seem necessary that we had to play some good ole’ fashion street football, which was a huge source of arguments and fights in our house. Even when our dad would take the time to play catch with us, it would always turn into who could throw the hardest or who could make the best diving catch. This competitive environment not only made me a better athlete, but also increased my passion for football and baseball.

All the time I spent outside playing with my brothers created a lot of bumps, bruises, and tears as a kid, but those times were some of my best childhood memories. As I grew older, I realized that team sports are the closest thing I have to feeling like a kid again and that I would jump on any opportunity to continue playing on a team.

So when the time came to begin looking at colleges, the fact that I had a school recruiting me to continue playing football was perfect! The icing on top, was learning that I could extend my time in competition by walking onto the baseball team.

To address the first question, how I play two sports in college is really not as hard as you might think.

During the football season, a lot of the practice I get as a wide receiver transfers over to being an outfielder because both positions can boil down to running good routes and having good hands. To keep my arm in shape, I would occasionally go throw with a teammate, but to be more time efficient I would usually show up to football practice twenty minutes early with a teammate to do some long toss with the football. Finding the energy to go hit during the football season was always a challenge because of the pure physical exhaustion from practice, but if I could ever go swing the bat without making myself sorer I would try.

Managing the two sports was a lot harder in the spring because of the time commitment of the baseball season and the grueling offseason for football. There were times during the week where I would wake up at 5:30am for “jump day” on the track, followed by a football team lift right after. Then it was off to class until 2:30pm, before heading out to Arce Field for baseball practice at 3:00pm. After practice, it was time for another team lift this time for baseball  before wrapping the day up at dinner. By the time I was done with dinner I would be back in my room around 8:00pm to start working on homework and studying. While managing football and baseball for four years, my coaches have been extremely accommodating and would modify some of my lifts and activities to make sure that I wasn’t overworking my body.

With a busy schedule devoted to sports all year, you’re probably wondering how I make time for school work and studying. In the four years I have been doing this, I actually found myself to be a better student when I kept myself busy with sports. The few weeks after football season ended and before Winter Break started I would have my form of an “offseason” and would find myself procrastinating school work simply because I was finally able to. Having a concrete schedule everyday due to sports made it easier for me to plan out my school work ahead of time and figure out how all of it was going to get done.

Some might view that I have given up a lot of my social life by keeping myself occupied just about every weekend of the year with sports. To some extent that is true, but I am extremely fortunate that I have two teams filled with guys that I consider great friends. The amount of quality time I get to spend without a worry in the world besides what play we are running next or who is up to bat is such a huge part of the reason I play. When I am on the field, I don’t have my phone, I don’t have any school work, I don’t have a job. The only thing that I have to do for next few hours is just have fun playing the sports I am passionate about with the people I love.

With the last few weeks of college winding down for me, it’s weird to look back at this as something I have done and not as something I get to look forward to. The reasons I got to look forward to it in the first place was because CMS Athletics provided me the environment to do so and I had my family, my girlfriend, and my friends to support me through it all, and for those reasons, I am so fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to feel like a kid again.

 

Trey Smith  |  Baseball and Football

Claremont McKenna - 2018