It can be said that one challenging aspect of an athlete who begins to excel in their sport while maintaining their studies is finding the time to juggle both.
For many in this position, the pressure associated with a full-time education as well as a busy schedule on the field, green or court leads to a drop off in their performance in grades or their game. Many students who are also standout athletes often reach a crossroads at some point where they must choose between dedicating themselves to one or the other. It would be near impossible to maintain high standards in college while cultivating a career in sport after all, right? Well, not always.
Take Gander, NL native Blair Bursey as an example that there are always exceptions to the rule. The Utah Valley Junior qualified for August’s Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open following a 6-under-par 66 in the qualifier for the tournament which carries significant prestige. Bursey carded one eagle and five birdies, the lowest score recorded for an amateur at Soldier Hollow Golf Course. Bursey managed this feat while maintaining his studies in Physical Education as well as volunteering work as a coach.
2017 was a particularly busy year for the Utah Valley Student, who admitted that he failed to live up to his own expectations before turning things around:
“I’ve had a pretty strong schedule this summer and haven’t really lived up to my expectations,” Bursey said while speaking to Gander Beacon. “To finally have a week where I felt like I had some good golf shine through was definitely encouraging.”
Despite mixing with some of the most outstanding golfers in the world, the golfer was focused and prepared. Bursey registered an impressive fourth-place finish at the invitation- only Sahalee Players Championship, which he claimed he was ‘fortunate’ to be invited to:
“I was definitely fortunate to be invited,” Bursey told the “I’ve played with some players who are ranked top 50 in the world. It’s good to be included with those types of guys, just to be around them and then to beat most of them.”
Bursey dealt with the demands of studies and his packed schedule in golf, demonstrating impressive mental fortitude and management skills. Ed Bursey, Blair’s father, also questioned how he managed to keep both aspects of his life running smoothly:
“He constantly trains, every day,” he said. “I’m a very proud father and I’m humbled by his ability and skill. He’s doing university courses at the same time. I don’t know how he does it all.”
For students with the skills and ambitions such as Bursey’s, there is always the risk that the day will come where they must make the choice between their academic commitments and their love of sport. While parents, peers and partners may have conflicting opinions relating to which is the right choice, Blair Bursey stands as an example to those unwilling to settle for abandoning one in favour of the other.