The difference between being a good athlete and a great athlete can be heavily dependent upon how a player trains during the off-season, but for a select few, this task becomes increasingly hard when they never actually have an off season during which to prepare.
When J.C. Cruse, Grosse Pointe sophomore, was receiving college offers for basketball, his decision as to which school he was going to choose was based heavily on one arbitrary factor; the football team. Cruse is one of a few students on the Albion campus who have chosen to become a multi-sport athlete.
“When the basketball coaches were looking at me in high school, I mentioned to them that I wanted to play football as well,” Cruse said. “Most colleges told me that I couldn’t do it, so when Albion started recruiting me for both sports it was a big deciding factor in my choice.”
Unlike most colleges pursuing him, the coaching staff here saw Cruse’s desire to play both sports as a benefit to the program.
“Recruiting multi-sport athletes a win/win here not only because are good athletes, but generally good students as well since they can balance school work with athletics in more than one season,” said Greg Polnasek, Special Team’s/Receivers Coordinator.
Cruse currently faces a time when both sports are having regularly scheduled practices. Conflicting schedules haven’t been a big issue for him though because of both coaches willingness to work together and make up a schedule that is best for their athletes.
“Football and basketball are two seasons that are really tough to transition between because of the short overlap time, but all of us as coaches work together to make it easier on our players,” Polnasek said. “The season being completed definitely takes a priority, though, and when the season is over, (Cruse) will have to do his best to catch up.”
Though Cruse does his best to balance both practice schedules, he admits that time management is not his most foremost concern at the moment.
“The biggest issue that I have is trying to remember two locker combinations,” Cruse said.
All in all, the motivation of playing two sports at the college level falls on the profound desire of the athlete.
“(Multi-sport athletes) are kids who truly have a passion for both sports,” Polnasek said . “They share a love for both games, and that’s why they chose to play both.”
For Cruse, the enjoyment of playing outweighs any disadvantage at hand.
“It’s a lot of fun, and it’s time consuming,” Cruse said. “But it’s way more fun than it is time consuming.”