The challenge of being a two-sport athlete


Lauren Nyong

Calvin has begun practicing for the 2023-2024 season.

Only about seven percent of high school student athletes go on to play at the collegiate level. This is even less common for two-sport student athletes, students who take the challenge of playing two sports in college. 

 While playing more than one sport in NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division III athletics programs is more common than in other divisions, it is still rare. At Calvin, there are very few who choose to play two sports in one academic year, let alone two sports from both the winter to spring seasons. 

Josie Vink is a sophomore at Calvin studying kinesiology with a concentration in pre-physical therapy. Being in pre-physical therapy means that Vink has to attend clinical rotations in addition to her regular class schedule. While Vink’s academic requirements are rigorous enough, she also has other commitments to balance: She plays two sports at Calvin basketball and softball. 

Being active has always been a big part of Vink’s life. She played multiple sports simultaneously throughout her life. In fact, her first year of college was her first time playing only one sport. Vink played basketball from kindergarten up to her senior year of high school. She did not play her freshman year of college because she attended Hope College for a semester before transferring to Calvin. When she started her spring semester at Calvin, she decided to try out and start playing again for the team. 

Another sport that has been a part of Vink’s life is softball, which she has been playing since the fourth grade. This is Vink’s first year playing two collegiate sports. The winter and spring sports seasons are beginning to overlap basketball season is winding down as softball season is beginning which means that Vink’s days are a lot longer.  

This is what Vink’s schedule usually looks like: She starts her week bright and early at 4:45 a.m. to get ready for softball practice. After practice, she attends her four classes, gets some homework done, has dinner and heads over to her basketball game from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. She goes to bed at 11:30 p.m to start it all over the next day. She also has clinical rotations every Sunday from 3 p.m to 11 p.m. at University of Michigan Health-West. Until basketball season ends, that is what most of Vink’s days look like. 

I’m in the best shape of my life right now, which is amazing.

— Josie Vink

Without a doubt, playing one sport is a stressor for most student athletes. However, Vink says that the benefits are “worth it.” For Vink, one of the benefits of playing two sports has been overall fitness. “I’m in the best shape of my life right now, which is amazing,” she said.  

Without my teammates I would be 100% burnt out.

— Josie Vink

Vink also enjoys the community she finds in her teams. Both the teams and the coaches support her as she juggles athletics and school. “The people are what keep me wanting to keep doing it,” she said. “Without my teammates I would be 100% burnt out.” 

Playing more than one sport this school year has taught Vink new life skills, including time management and balance. Because of her busy schedule, Vink doesn’t have much time to rest. “I never really get a day to chill,” Vink said. “In moments where I used to take a nap or hang out with friends, now I have to sacrifice.” 

Vink had to learn to adapt to her schedule this year, and she acknowledges that this is not always easy. “I had to learn how to adjust my body to be able to run on less sleep and more of a grind,” she said. “There are days [when playing two sports] is really hard.”