Ambitious Goals, Smart Backups

Stetson has dedicated and hardworking student-athletes – but what comes after graduation?

Ihsaan Fanusie, Sports Editor

As children, most of us dream of achieving great things. Some of us dream of becoming astronauts or firefighters; others have hopes of becoming superheroes and saving the world. As we get older, some of us abandon our dreams in pursuit of more practical, ‘safe’ occupations. Some of us, however, keep their sights on these lofty goals and strive towards their ambitions.


Athletes at Stetson recognize the importance of having ambitious goals, but also have the vision to have backup plans for if those dreams cannot be attained. 


Ana Costa ‘21, a player on the beach volleyball team, plans to participate in the Olympics, either in the 2024 or 2028 cycle. “My plan is to go pro and go to the Olympics,” she said. “I’ve been playing since I was nine.” Costa, whose mother was a professional volleyball player and father was a track and field athlete, is from Brazil. If she participates in the Summer Olympics, she will represent her home country in beach volleyball.


The process of training for the Olympics involves a very specialized regimen. Athletes will choose a coach, a training partner, and then enter the national tournament in Brazil. “Usually people will train in cycles,” Costa explained. Cycles reset every four years. During these cycles, Olympic hopefuls will train with professionals in order to get physically and mentally prepared for Olympic qualifiers. They can then get national exposure playing in tournaments in Brazil.


“I mean, this is my backup plan, that’s why I’m in college,” Costa said of her pursuit of a degree in International Relations. “That’s the only reason [I’m here], to have a degree so that my parents don’t go too crazy,” she added with a chuckle. With her degree, Costa plans to do something in diplomacy as a career backup plan.


Guilherme Pinhiero 22’, a midfielder on the men’s soccer team, plans to continue playing soccer at the professional level after he graduates. “I hope I can get to the pro level, but if not, I’m going for a degree so I have both options. But if I can, I want to go pro.” Being an athlete also presents challenges for students. “The biggest challenge,” Pinhiero said, “is managing my time because of the messy schedule with practice, lift, classes, and traveling.”


Though time management can be difficult as a student athlete, there are several rewarding aspects of the job, too. Both Costa and Pinhiero highlighted the importance of being on a team in helping create useful life skills. For Costa, “[Being on a team] helps me deal with people… and deal with challenges.” Pinhiero shares a similar sentiment. “I think being on a team itself helps you a lot already. You learn a lot of things like discipline, how to play with others, work with other people, and understand all of their differences.”


For student athletes at Stetson, having a vision consists of both planning and developing a scheme for the future. “To me, vision is having an idea of how I want things to be and [knowing] what I need to do to pursue them,” said Pinhiero. “For me, [vision] is the future,” Costa said.


As we move into the spring season and several new teams take the field for the first time in 2020, vision will be a prime focus for Stetson student athletes.