Two senior athletes reflect on their time at UF
By Lauren Wolters
Of the approximately 3,000 students who attend the University of Findlay, about 680 students participate in athletics according to the University. These 680 students get the opportunity to continue a sport they have most likely been participating in for many years, while also receiving a degree. Because these athletes have been participating in their sport for such a long time, it can be challenging to leave it behind or move on to the next chapter following graduation.
Amber Schweiger, a senior Animal Science major, is a four-year member of UF’s women’s basketball team. She plans on returning to play next season for her fifth year. Schweiger started playing basketball when she was about three or four years old. She has about 18 years of experience. She earned G-MAC all-defensive team honors last season.
“I will miss the people I have met,” Schweiger said. “We have a big community that comes to support us, I have met people from all different states, and I met my three lifelong best friends here. My team has been nothing short of a family to me since I have been so far from home.”
James Wimer, a senior Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability is in his sixth-year wrestling at UF. He started wrestling at age 8 and has 15 years of experience. Last season Wimer won the National Championship for his weight class and received NCAA DII All-American honors. He agrees with Schweiger’s sentiments.
“I think what I’ll miss the most is just being around the team, my coaches and being able to do what I love to do every day with those guys,” Wimer said.
Dr. Chris Stankovich, a sports psychologist in central Ohio known as “The Sports Doc” states on his website that “athletes who prepare for sport retirement put themselves in ideal positions for future success once the games are eventually over.”
Schweiger found her love for basketball in elementary school. She played AAU basketball in middle school and was able to travel the East Coast while playing the sport.
Wimer enjoys the individual aspect of wrestling.
“I enjoy wrestling because it’s something that directly reflects me,” Wimer said. “My accomplishments, win or lose, are my fault. Wrestling is an individual sport so when you put in the work or [when] you don’t, it shows.”
Schweiger prefers the team effort basketball requires.
“I enjoy the sport because it is a team effort to execute the game plan, and the energy with the crowd is unmatched,” Schweiger said. “I have learned a lot about myself from basketball and have had life-changing experiences because of it.”
Schweiger adds that basketball has taught her accountability, timeliness, how to be prepared and how to stay optimistic amid life’s obstacles.
“Wrestling is a very tough sport, and it’s taught me so much,” Wimer said. “What I think has stuck with me most throughout the years is how to carry myself through hard work, dedication, [and] discipline. These three things have shaped me as a person and reflected the success I’ve had on and off the mat.”
Stankovich says on his website using athletic transferable skills is one tip to help students retiring from sports.
“Learning the communicate effectively, multi-task responsibilities, and manage time are but three of the countless skills athletes learn through sports that can be applied to all areas of life,” the site says.
Schweiger plans to graduate from UF with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science degree and her Master of Business Administration degree.
“I wouldn’t mind playing basketball overseas, but I also would like to get my adult life started,” Schweiger said. “I would like to work for the United States Drug Administration (USDA) or Quality Control in a food producing facility.”
Wimer has a job offer in Tennessee to work as an Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) professional.
“I don’t have any plans to continue wrestling, but maybe one day I’ll be able to come back full circle and coach kids like me,” Wimer said.
While it will be hard for many UF athletes to leave sports that have become lifestyles behind, these senior student-athletes feel prepared to handle the changes ahead of them.