Winter running - Young woman running outdoors on a cold  day

Most undergrads at Western live a pretty cushy life.

It's hard for those of us who don't play varsity sports to understand how much sacrifice goes into representing the purple and white. Other than sophs, varsity athletes are the hardest working people on this campus.

For Jericho Thompson of Western's varsity equestrian team, the sacrifices made to compete at the highest levels of Canadian college sport are more than just the bumps and bruises suffered during the game.

"Man, I've made so many sacrifices since joining the equestrian team," said Thompson. "Now I can only go to dollar beers once a week and the other night I could only watch the first 30 minutes of the Zlatan Ibrahimovic documentary on Netflix because I had to go to practice."

So when Mustangs fans complain that their favourite horse rider isn't tearing up the dance floor at Jack's on Wednesday night, now they know why.

He's sacrificing fun for the good of the university. You don't win U Sports equestrian championships by being lazy and partying all the time.

For Billy Sandusky of the men's roller hockey team, which beat Glencoe District High School for the Canadian Roller Hockey Federation national championship in the 14-24 age group, the athlete life is affecting his overall health.

"The other day my dentist was really concerned because my teeth were looking bad, so he told me to stop grinding them," said Sandusky via text message. "But I told him the grind never stops <100 emoji>."

For varsity athletes, the glory and prestige of putting on a Mustangs jersey and playing in front of big crowds is well worth the trouble and sacrifice.

"I can't sleep in until noon anymore, but it's totally worth it," said Jonas Johansen, captain of the men's handball team. "But when I walk out of that tunnel and the three fans in the crowd start making noise for us, it's all worth it. It's a dream come true."

Betty Crocker, star goalie on the women's handball team and potential national player of the year, has sacrificed her entire social life in order to complete her MIT degree and lead her team to a national title. But even with mornings consisting of 6:00 practice and 8:30 class, Crocker claims her grades have never been better.

"I literally have not seen her in my class once, and she only completed two pages of a 12-page final research paper," said one of Crocker's professors, who asked to remain anonymous.

So if you're catching yourself feeling sorry for these heroes of Western, the big men and women on campus who sacrifice so much for each and everyone of us, it's totally understandable.

Because the chase never ends. Insert 100 emoji. 

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