Comparing professional athletes to superheroes is something of a no-brainer. We all know pros are already these larger than life characters, with endorsement deals, world ranks, and the trophies and bling to go along with it.
On the other hand, student-athletes are generally the strong, silent types, working hard day-in and day-out to get the job done for themselves, their team, their families, and their communities.
So they have the secret identity part down. How else are student-athletes like superheroes?
They defy odds.
Just think of all the odds and adversity so many student-athletes have had to overcome to get where they are today. From injuries, to naysayers, to months of reaching out to college coaches with literally not a single response.
Being told you're too small, too slow, or simply not good enough would bring a lesser young man or young woman down for the count.
But not student-athletes. They re-group, re-evaluate, and get going with a new game plan.
Student-athletes defy the odds. When someone tells them they can't, they say, "Watch me."
They are physically and mentally tougher than most.
Year after year, student-athletes undergo a physical and mental toll in order to play the sport that they love. Pushing their bodies to the max, not just during the season, but throughout an entire off-season, to come back stronger, faster, and better than the year before. They miss birthday parties, holidays at home with family, and other social happenings most kids look forward to regularly so they can report for duty on the field.
Oh, and they simultaneously have schoolwork to do and grades to maintain. Their commitment to studies - even after a seven-hour school day, and three-hour practice - requires a mental toughness their peers and other students don't even have dream of considering.
Student-athletes are physically and mentally tougher than most. They are disciplined, and aren't easily swayed or distracted when it their sport and their team are on the line.
They do good.
I think the one thing about superheroes that resonates most with people is the characters' over-arching drive to do good.
Student-athletes share that drive. They are role models to the most impressionable youth of their community. Millions of student-athletes across our country have the rare opportunity to connect and touch young fans on a daily basis.
They bring people together. They make rivalries fun, and competition exciting.
Most of all, student-athletes have an incredible and innate skill set that make them not only a positive part of any community, but provide them with the ability to give back with their brains, brawn, and experiences. Student-athletes do good.