Pat’s Perspective: D-what?

BY PATRICK LYONS, Columnist

“Yo bro, you trying to go D-1?”

Having played baseball throughout high school, I am all too familiar with that vexatious question. Many people who take or have taken sports seriously in the past have been faced with the decision of whether or not they want to pursue their sport at the next level.

After high school, an athlete basically has two options; play college sports or try to go straight to the professional level. College sports are broken down into four basic categories: Division I, Division II, Division III, Junior College and NAIA.

With Division I being considered the division with the highest level of talent, most high school athletes desire to be recruited by an NCAA Division I school.

Piedmont College is a part of the USA South Conference and competes at the Division III level.

For some people, playing at the “D-3” level is inferior and is considered second rate. Even around campus, remarks are made about the legitimacy of the sports teams here on campus and why anyone should care about athletes who some may consider to be third rate. After all, this is Georgia Bulldog country, who in the world are the Piedmont Lions?

As a matter of fact, this small-town, liberal arts school in the middle of Appalachia is one of 442 American, Division III colleges. Not bad for a group of young people who just practice and work to be third rate right?

Fired up about the topic is senior business major and starting left-fielder for Piedmont Baseball, Josh Bailey.

“Before I broke my ankle senior year in high school, I had a shot at playing D-1 baseball. But looking back, as angry and downtrodden as I was, I wouldn’t change a thing man,” Bailey said. “I have the best group of brothers on this baseball team and I want people to learn to respect college sports at all levels.”

Bailey went on to talk about how his playing time might have been different had he been recruited to play D-1. “I know guys who have never seen the field. I have been blessed to start in the outfield every year during my career at Piedmont, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”

Should anyone reading this still consider Division III to be inferior, consider this. Working will win when wishing won’t.

In no way am I saying that athletes who compete at a different level than we do here at Piedmont aren’t hard workers. Nor am I seeking to belittle D-1 and D-2 athletes.

I’m simply saying that we “D-3ers” are faced with a choice. We can sit in our dorms and wish we were somewhere else playing for a school that has 30,000 students and a downtown nightlife. But why do that when we can simply work to represent one another with dignity and respect.

Sure it’d be pretty difficult for any sports team here at Piedmont to cope with a varsity athletic team from the University of Georgia. But don’t for a second think that our team wouldn’t take the court or field and give everything we had anyway.

I am surrounded by incredible young men and women who work tirelessly like the rest of the NCAA athletes around the country work.

So to all you Piedmont “D-3ers” out there, let’s keep reminding the doubters about the Six W’s and keep Roar Pride alive for decades to come. Remember, working will win when wishing won’t.