Put Me in Coach: Powerlifter has the Power but Nothing to Lift

Hard work pays off when college does not pay for one’s hard work.
Photo of Bailey Jones by Holland Studios

Hard work pays off when college does not pay for one’s hard work. Photo of Bailey Jones by Holland Studios

Wake up, take a shower, brush teeth, get dressed, go to the gym and lift weights—the normal routine of powerlifter Bailey Jones. Well, it used to be until she left home to attend college and realized there was no powerlifting team at Delta State University.

The worst situation of all is being a student who devoted so much time and energy into a sport in high school and later on learning that the sport is not offered in college to provide any financial or social help. In an interview with Bailey Jones, a Delta State freshman from DeSoto County, she expresses how she feels and how the absence of her sport has caused her college expectations to be altered.

Jones was very active on her high school’s powerlifting team since she became a member in eighth grade. In school, Jones spent all her free time in the gym lifting weights and training for powerlifting meets. Her hard work rightfully earned her a spot at Mississippi North Half district competition as well as helping her to rank amongst the top in her weight class all five years. She also joined the USA Mississippi powerlifting team the summer after her junior year of high school and is currently still a member.

Once she graduated high school and went to college, she soon learned that powerlifting was no longer an option. Her accomplishments would have been rewarded with money for school and scholarship opportunities if they were earned in another sport that is offered at the college she is attending. Some students from other teams on campus at Delta State receive a check in the mail from the money left over after their athletic scholarships have come into play. Unfortunately, for Jones, not only is her education not being paid for, but she also lost the time she put into this activity as well as an alternate, social opportunity to make friends on campus.

Moving away from home and going to a school far from family and friends is a challenge. Most of the time the fear of change is connected to the fear of being alone. Due to the absence of a team this student devoted all her time into, Jones came to college without the chance of making new friends with those on a sports team with her.

While Bailey Jones says she loves going to school at Delta State University, she feels as though she has been deprived of the opportunity to participate, compete and represent her school on a sports team. Jones says, “Having to choose between school and my passion for lifting weights competitively was the hardest decision of my academic career.” Putting in time and dedication to a team for five years and then learning it is not offered drastically alters college life and experiences for the student.

Let us hope there will be more team opportunities and sports options in the future at universities like Delta State. Perhaps one student can change the fact there is a lack of teams on campus by getting others involved and starting their own.