Editor’s Note: We published this five years ago, but figure it resonates just as much today in graduation season… Enjoy.
You wouldn’t have gotten into that school if it weren’t for sports
Let’s start with the most important thing. For most D3 athletes, there was zero chance you got into that school if it weren’t for your athletic prowess. You somehow duped some coach and administration that your skills were baller enough to overlook your sub-1200 SAT score, mediocre grades, and nonexistent community service record. Joke’s on them, eh?
More people came to your high school games
The first time I walked onto my college’s floor for a game, my initial thought was, “Where the FUCK are all of the fans?” There’s a 100% chance more people came to your high school games, because they actually mattered to people. As a D3 athlete, you really had to come to terms with that fact that no one cared about your team.
Everyone could have gone D1 but something happened
“Dude, I got hurt my senior year.” “My coach was an idiot. He never had D1 coaches come to our games.” “I was white. I never had a chance.”
Sure, bro. Keep telling yourself that.
You had that one guy who thought he was going to go pro
By the end of senior year, he was always going to “Pro Days at the nearby D1 school.” You, as a rational human, realized there was no chance in hell that this person would make it anywhere, but this young man could not see the writing on the wall.
Your conference had an idiotic name
While even D1 conferences have stupid as shit names (looking at you, American Athletic Conference), they at make intuitive sense on some level. D3 schools, on the other hand, sound like a knock-off American Eagle brand.
You were constantly rescheduling assignments (much to the chagrin of your professors)
D3 is supposed to be the last bastion of the student-athlete. As such, you were required to complete an actual course load—not the online classes your tutor took for you while you were getting blown by team groupies. This led to a myriad of scheduling conflicts with your classes, so you were constantly rescheduling tests and papers with your professors. They hated you for it.
You thought you were cool, but definitely weren’t
This is really the core of the D3 athletic experience. In high school, you thought you were cool as shit, and, to some extent, you were. In D3, absolutely no one cared that you scored 30 points or had a game-winning touchdown. They were too busy having actual fun.
You had that one guy who took it way, way too seriously
Somehow, this guy didn’t get the memo that D3 was just an excuse to extend your circle of drinking friends, stay somewhat in shape, and try to meet girls. He’d always be way too intense at practice, was the only one that followed the offseason workout program, and always had one-on-one meetings with the coach (seriously, who the hell does that?). Without fail, he also sucked at sports.
Away games on Saturday night were the bane of your existence
Away games on Saturday night are the worst. While you’re grinding away, trying to beat some no-name school two hours down the road, your other bros are busy day drinking, watching college football (the type that matters), and generally having fun. You’d be panicking on the bus ride back, making sure you had a perfectly scheduled exit from the bus. But invariably, your non-sports-playing friends would be way too drunk when you finally got to the party.
You drank on the bus
[See above.] This was an important tradition. Win, lose, or tie, there’s no better way to get the night going than taking down a water bottle of whiskey on the ride back and having some freshmen take your pads to the locker room so you could continue pregamming. In many ways, D3 athletes and high school girls taking the train to see DAVE are alarmingly similar.
You never had to worry about a drug test
Among the chief advantages of D3 athletics is never having to worry about a drug test. D1 athletes can’t smoke during the season because they’re constantly getting tested. D3 athletes are constantly stoned.
You lived in a team house
This is especially true for schools without fraternities (nerds). Whether it was the lax bros, the football meatheads, the wrestling team, or the weirdly tall basketball players, you ended up living with your teammates.
You hated your coach
No D3 athlete has ever liked his coach. They might run the wrong offense, not give you enough playing time, or have a 300-inspired training program. Regardless, every coach is a prick.
In related news, I’d rather castrate myself than be a D3 coach.
You had an assistant coach who went to your school
This guy wasn’t fooling anyone. He was so horrifically unemployable and/or just wanted another year of school that he stayed around to be an inconsequential assistant coach. He was in that weird position where you probably got super-fucked up with him the year before, but now he was in, “Oh look at me, I’m a big dick coach now and you have to listen to me” mode.
Your parents were more excited to come drink than watch you play
You think your parents are there because they love you—because they want to share in your successes and support you in your defeats. FALSE. They were there to get drunk as shit with the other parents. Parents are the people who enjoy D3 sports the most.
You probably quit
And we’ve come full circle. You got into this school based on your athletic talents, but you realized your college experience would be way more enjoyable if you quit. Your coach definitely knew that “I need to spend time focusing on my studies” is a very poorly disguised “I need to spend some time focusing on my drinking,” but you really didn’t care.
Which is really the point of college after all.