A sophomore public relations major from Middletown, N.J., Christiana Rutkowski burst on the scene for Seton Hall cross country in 2014. As a newcomer, the Middletown South product paced the Pirates in all nine meets and helped propel the program to new heights by recording its first individual victory and helping The Hall to its first team win since transitioning to exclusively cross country.
In a feature new to SHUPirates.com for 2015-16, Christiana will provide Pirate fans inside the program and provide a first-hand perspective of what it takes to compete, and excel, at the top level of collegiate athletics
There is no OffSeason
It’s hard to believe that it’s already the middle of November, but here I am, sitting and reflecting on how fast time has gone and how it feels like just yesterday I arrived on campus for our pre-season weeks before classes got rolling.
As part of competing as an athlete in any sport, there comes times in our training that we like to refer to as “off season,” although is it truly an “off” season in our sport?
The answer to that is a resounding “no.”
While we do have weeks, days, or even months of training that are less intense than when we are in our actual season, we never truly are taking a break from our passion, our hobby, our sport that helps make us who we are.
In just a short time, our cross country season will be coming to a close. As someone who had to sit out for the entire season, I really learned a lot about cross country from a different perspective, my teammates, what it means to still give to the team even when you cannot compete yourself, and more. And while I wasn’t even competing myself, the season still flew by right before my eyes, but I know that even if cross country season is over, our training and mindsets only switch into another gear.
With cross country coming to an end, it only means that it’s closer to track season approaching, and during track, we still continue to have our minds focused on our training and the next cross country season as well.
Although maintaining focus and discipline during your season is a given, it’s even more important to maintain that same focus and discipline in training though it may be easier to lose it sometimes.
While we may not meet formally as a team for the next two or three months, we may not have structured practices every day or meets to look forward to until March, I personally feel that during the “off season” is when true champions are made.
In other words, I like to refer to the quote, “Champions are made when no one is watching.”
I like to think of it as a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly in regards to off-season. While the caterpillar is in its cocoon, no one can really see what is going on. From the outside, it’s just a cocoon, with no indication of all the changes and transformations that are taking place for the butterfly to emerge.
Like the caterpillar, the athletes are changing and working hard during off-season, even when it may not be clear to those around them. Because there are no races or games to display our hard work, it will all pay off when we get the chance to perform.
It isn’t just what you do when you “have” to put in the work, it’s what you do when it may not be “easy” or at the top of your list.
Off-season isn’t TRULY an off-season. Personally, I feel off-season is a chance to transform ourselves to even greater athletes, every day.