Hope College Student-Athlete Spotlight: Jackson Player and Helen Dodge

Jackson Player and Helen Dodge pose for portraits.
Pictured, from left, seniors Jackson Player and Helen Dodge

Seniors Jackson Player and Helen Dodge relish their opportunity to pursue their academic and athletic interests as members of the Hope College indoor and outdoor track and field teams.

Player, a psychology major from San Antonio, Texas (Winston Churchill HS), and Dodge, a biology major from Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan (Grosse Pointe South), both are competing at the MIAA Indoor Championships this weekend.

The one-day meet is scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 25, at 9:30 a.m. at Trine University. Player is a record-setting hurdler and one of the Flying Dutchmen’s top jumpers. Dodge is an accomplished sprinter and long jumper.

Player and Dodge shared their experiences as student-athletes and how Hope College is transforming their lives.

1. What do you enjoy most about competing in track and field?  

Player:  The thing that I enjoy most about competing is getting to see hard work pay off and getting to experience the successes of my teammates firsthand. 

Dodge: What I enjoy most about competing in track and field is that it’s an independent sport in which you are trying to break your own personal records, but it is also a team effort in which we work together to score points for our team in order to win and push each other to work harder and run faster.

2. How has being a college athlete helped you in the classroom?

Dodge: Being a college athlete has helped me in the classroom with time management skills. I have needed to prioritize getting my homework and studying done without procrastinating since we spend 1-2 hours at practice every day. Having track practice is a nice break from school where we get to hang out with friends while being productive and getting a workout in.

Player: Being a college athlete has helped me stay driven in the classroom and helped me find a healthy balance between schoolwork and competition. 

3. How is your time at Hope College transforming you as a person?

Player: My time at Hope College has transformed my work ethic in a significant way. During my time here I’ve found myself more driven to succeed both on the track and in the classroom. I feel fortunate that Hope has provided me with a place full of support that allows for such significant growth. 

Dodge: My time at Hope College has transformed me as a person by allowing me to realize that it’s important to find joy in everyday things. I am able to do this by laughing and having fun with my teammates every day at practice.

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