By Rayne Brown
Class from 8 a.m. until noon. Lunch. Then practice and rehab. Practice for four hours. Go home, eat and study. Try to be in bed by midnight.
Acrobatics and tumbling senior, Ginger Plemmons balances all of the above exceedingly well. She manages to stay focused on the mat and carries a 3.86 GPA.
“Well, I don’t get that much sleep. I mean you just have to stay motivated to succeed at both,” Plemmons said. “So I just study in between practice or really late at night. Whenever I have time really.”
Not only does Plemmons make it a priority to make time to study, she utilizes the resources that have been provided for student athletes.
“She’s in every tutorial session when she’s supposed to be. Keeping a set schedule keeps her physically prepared and mentally prepared,” acrobatics and tumbling coach LaPrise Harris-Williams said.
Making time to study isn’t as easy when the team travels. Plemmons has a hard time focusing on everything going on around her as well as academics. While Plemmons finds it difficult to study on the road, her coach notices no difference in her discipline. Harris-Williams always sees her taking advantage of resources provided on the road, such as athlete tutors.
Staying focused during travel isn’t the only constant obstacle Plemmons faces. Baylor’s attendance policy means travelling counts against athletes, making it absolutely necessary for Plemmons to be present in every class when the team is in town.
“I’ve never had too many [professors] that are sticklers or anything, but the absence thing, like even if it’s for athletics, a lot of them don’t care about that,” Plemmons said.
Unlike students who are not athletes, Plemmons doesn’t enjoy the luxury of being able to skip a class or two for reasons like illness or personal problems. Her absences are solely dedicated to team travel. Fortunately, Plemmons is motivated to do well in athletics and academics, so giving up personal absences is a simple sacrifice.
“I just can’t miss class at all really. Last semester all of our travel days took up pretty much to the very last day of what you can miss,” Plemmons said. “You got to do it. Like you’re going to fail if you don’t. If you fail you can’t compete, so it kind of all just goes together.”
Being present in class is important for reasons bigger than passing or failing. Plemmons hopes to graduate with honors, but her ultimate goal is to become a speech pathologist and work with stroke patients or patients who have suffered a brain injury.
“I don’t want to get out of school and not be able to help people because I didn’t care enough to actually learn while I was in college,” Plemmons said.
Judging from her profile on baylorbears.com’s academic all-stars page, Plemmons has learned a lot. The speech pathology major has been on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll three times, received Baylor Dean’s list honors three semesters and was also named Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection in 2012.
Excelling in school and athletics takes motivation and staying motivated takes support. Plemmons gets that support from her team mates and her faith. The scholar athlete said hearing her teammates cheer keeps her encouraged and during competitions, Plemmons reminds herself of her faith in a unique way. She and other teammates write a Bible verse somewhere on their body before competition.
“Mine is usually something along the lines of giving Him the glory, or Him being with me,” Plemmons said.
Plemmons strives to be an example to other teammates by working diligently in academics, athletics and in keeping her faith.
“I think showing by doing is more important than telling. He definitely doesn’t stand up and say, ‘Hey guys, get good grades,’” teammate Lori Williamson said. “She’s very good about making an effort to get the grades on paper first before she is going to lead by example.”
In order to continue being successful in all areas of her life, Plemmons acknowledges and accepts any obstacles, but remains optimistic when dealing with them.
“You have to try to give as best as you can 100% to everything you’re involved in and really care about it,” Plemmons said.
The Scholar athlete looks into her senior season through hopeful lenses and strong belief in herself and her team. Plemmons believes she and her teammates have the perfect combination of team spirit, skill and faith to win a championship.