A Day in the Life of an Athlete: Michael Benson
A senior from Prescott, Ariz., Michael Benson ‘15 sat down with me recently to discuss his experience as a student-athlete, specifically playing baseball for the Tigers.
Lauren: What does a regular, in-season day look like?
Michael: I’ll wake up around 7 a.m., have my coffee, eat breakfast and go to weights at 8. Work out for about an hour in the athletics weight room and go to class at 9:30. After that, I have about an hour block of time when I usually eat and then I have another class at 12:30. That class ends at 1:45 and then I have practice at 2 p.m.
L: And how long are practices?
M: It depends on how our coach has planned for us that day, but typically they’re between 2 and 2.5 hours.
L: What have you liked best about being a student-athlete here at Pacific?
M: I think my favorite thing about being a student-athlete here has been the travel. We got to play in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha where the College World Series is played. It’s those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like that that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.
L: What is your stress level like during the season?
M: The stress is high, but you just kind of have to start prioritizing things and you kind of have to leave some things behind. In-season baseball comes first and then class. We have four games a week and that’s at the top of my priority list. It’s really not that bad. The only time that it gets really stressful for me is in the games, during while we’re actually playing.
L: What should the student body know about being a student-athlete here at Pacific?
M: It’s a lot tougher than it looks. What is kind of behind the scenes is how much work student-athletes put in. I mean, there’s always people in the weight room, there’s always people practicing out on their fields and there’s always people studying in the academic center in athletics. A lot more work goes into being a student-athlete on and off the field, and then we have to maintain our GPAs and be compliant with the NCAA.
L: What’s the team dynamic like?
M: We have 32 guys on the team, which makes it tough to be good friends with everyone and spend time with everyone. You have a few really good friends on the team that you spend the most time with, and we definitely socialize as a group. We all get along really well.
L: It’s a common misconception on campus that athletes are aloof or clique-ish. What do you have to say to people who believe this?
M: We spend 30-40 hours a week with our teams and they become our best friends, so are we truly clique-ish? Student-athletes have a tough schedule so we eat together, try to get classes at the same time together and that’s why we’re usually in groups.
It’s not the fact that we’re baseball or whatever sport and we think we’re better than other people, it’s just who we spend the most time with. Hanging out with other athletes is easy because they know the struggle, they know what it’s like getting up in the morning and going to weights and then having to go to class and trying not to fall asleep. I think that a lot of people would be surprised at what our life is like. It’s a lot harder than it looks.
The veteran pitcher is 2-3 on the season with 11 game appearances. He’s struck out 28 batters in 48.1 innings of plays and looks to continue this trend into this weekend when the Tigers play a three-game series against UC Davis. The first matchup will be held at the Aggies’ home field on Friday, but Pacific will return home to host them on Saturday. First pitch will be at 6 p.m. at Klein Family Field.