In high school, playing multiple sports throughout the year was very much possible since there was a way to balance sports and school work. However, once in university, the workload for school increases and so does the effort and time that goes into playing even a single sport.
Brock University is lucky enough to have a couple of student-athletes who have found the ability to balance school and be a part of two varsity teams. Joanna Francolini is a second year outdoor recreation student, who is also part of Brock’s Women’s Cross Country and Curling teams. Eric Bradey is a second year sport management student that has been able to find the time to play both Men’s Soccer and Curling.
“At one point I had Cross Country at 7:00 a.m., then class all day, then cross country [again] at 4:00 p.m. and right after I would have to run to Curling for try-outs,” said Francolini. “It gets complicated and hard to do homework, so you just have to time manage.”
“It’s just a lot of time management skills,” said Bradey in terms of playing both sports. “I think I’ve had one weekend off this entire semester. There’s some weekends that I would play a soccer game in one city, leave the same day to go play a couple curling games, and then do the same the next day.”
For Francolini, she was a strong athlete from a young age as she joined every sport she could in elementary and high school. At one point in her life she and her family moved to the United States before coming back to Canada.
“My dad, brother and I were like, ‘let’s do something Canadian’,” said Francolini. “So we joined curling and that’s how that happened. I don’t know why [curling and cross country] are the two I stuck with.”
Bradey, also grew up playing many sports, but with soccer and curling being during two different seasons he was able to find time for both growing up. However, both Francolini and Bradey were not willing to admit which of their current sports are their favourite.
“I get less frustrated during soccer,” said Bradey.
“I love both if I’m doing well in them.” Francolini added, “They’re both really different.”
Bradey plays the skip position for the Brock curling team and is a huge contributor as a defender for the men’s soccer team. For the second start season, Bradey was also named to the OUA second-team all-stars as a defender. In his rookie season, he scored two goals.
“It was one of my goals at the start of the season,” said Bradey. “I thought I played a good season, my teammates helped out and having Bill Millar as coach for his 31st season was a big one.”
Both student-athletes find each sport very demanding in their own way. For Francolini, she is playing a very individual sport in cross country and a team sport in curling, so she takes a different approach with her nutrition and mental approach.
“If I eat an improper lunch before cross country, I feel it at the end of the day,” said Francolini. “Mentally, there’s a moment in cross country where you can’t pick yourself back up so it’s not like curling, where you have a teammate there.”
Both students originally picked Brock because of the academics. Bradey really liked the Sport Management program, as it’s the only one in Ontario, and he hopes to one day work in the sports business. Whereas for Francolini, she enjoyed working the outdoors and outdoor rec program at Brock allows her to do that. She hopes to one day lead expeditions such as canoe and hiking trips, but would also like to continue her sports like running big marathons and trail races.
Not every university is lucky enough to have dual-athletes, but Francolini and Bradey bring that to Brock University.