Division III athletics is the farthest thing from glamorous. Most schools have dilapidated facilities, varying talent, have the pleasure of playing bare minimum schedules, while the athletes pay more for school, and fundraise just for the chance to compete—compared to other divisions of college athletics. But it’s not grueling either.

My college coach, James Grandey, often asked my baseball team, at Bluffton University, what our “why” is. Why do we do what we do? Why do we pour all of our time over the course of a school year, for 40 games and no glitz or glamour?

The most often answer is “for the love of the game,” which is an adequate response for not only answering “what is you why,” but also for commenting on your favorite Kevin Costner baseball movie, Field of Dreams be damned! But similar to the Iowa based baseball film, that answer is way too cliché. There has to be more.

Maybe, it’s for the pride of playing college athletics, which I can tell you is something to certainly be proud about. For some, the allure of someone wanting you can be enough to pull into the D3 fold. Coaches calling you, telling you that they think you can fit into something they are building, is certainly alluring. But, none of this perfectly fits why I decided to do it, and somehow it all fits. I swear I don’t usually talk in paradoxes. So, as I look back on my baseball career, I try to make sense of everything I went through and everything I sacrificed.

College baseball was really my only choice. Though, no one ever pushed it on me—besides myself. I’m the last of the Mohicans, the youngest in my immediate family. My dad, uncle, cousins and brothers all played college sports, most of them chose baseball. Being younger than my two brothers by nearly a decade, I was their carry-on to every baseball tournament. I was the luggage that had to come, and while I barely remember watching them play, I remember all their teammates. They were the titans of baseball in my head. Kids my age remember watching Ken Griffey Jr., Albert Pujols, Big Papi, Manny Ramirez and Derek Jeter. I remember Drew Schmidt, Lance Durham, Brian Jett, Drew Wurzelbacher, Rudy Jovanovski, Destin Makonnen and Will Gowdy. Names that mean nothing to baseball communities outside of Arkadelphia, Arkansas and Cincinnati, Ohio are legends in my memory. I still mimic Makonnen’s wide stance and wear Gowdy’s number 17 when I get the chance.

I wanted to be these guys. But I didn’t want to be my brothers. My oldest brother Drew went to three different colleges, my other brother, Matt, went to two. I remember sitting down with my dad, at the most exclusive restaurant in Hamilton, Ohio—Texas Roadhouse, and while spreading cinnamon butter on a roll I told him, I wanted to just play four years of baseball, get my degree, and move on. Undermining the experience that I would eventually have, but deliberately undermining those players that are chasing after something. Too much talent gets caught up in the fame of college sports. Multiple people I grew up playing ball with, had a “D1 or bust” mentality. Why? I don’t understand it in the slightest. It seems as though they are chasing the fame that comes with playing higher level sports, instead chasing what it is all about. That is where we are at today, kids and parents have lost sight of what is important.

Too many kids are after the retweets and likes that come with the “I am very pleased to announce that I will continuing my academic and athletic career at (insert college or university here)” tweet. Too many kids want their picture in the paper on signing day. Signing day has become one of the biggest sporting events of the year. We have allowed ourselves to lose sight of what it is all about. D3 hasn’t, at least not yet.

My alma mater, Bluffton University, is smaller than most public high schools. I knew pretty much every face, every student, professor and coach. We knew each team, we push for their success, and recognize the players that deserve it. Your fame didn’t reach far, but you got it. We were a community, all doing the same thing, for the right reasons.

In my years there, I sent letters out asking for donations, spent whole weekends fundraising and worked on a field for hours, just to get a game in because it rained or snowed the day before. Just because, for 16 days in the fall and for 40 games in the spring I get to be an artist, with my medium being baseball, while being banded together with dozens of other dudes, all going through it all together.

So what exactly is my motivation? I have been pussyfooting around this question for too long. My motivation is my deep admiration and affection for baseball. Which is just bad writer talk for saying “for the love of the game.” But loving baseball isn’t enough, you need more. I dream about baseball. My darkest nightmares have me debuting in “The Show” and for some reason I can’t swing my bat, I can’t move my arm to catch a ball. I study the game almost to fault, because I annoy everyone around me with how much I talk about it. There is no sex or drug in the world that can give my brain the same ecstasy as stealing my pitcher a strike by fooling the umpire or driving a fastball into right center field and getting to slide into second base.

My friends, often make fun of me when spring comes around. “Baseball Reid” isn’t made of the same DNA as Reid in any other season. I lose my mind. All my efforts to stay as even-keel as possible get thrown out the window the second that first pitch is thrown. And isn’t that what love is? Being unable to control yourself, because something or somebody moves you practically to insanity. Maybe you think that version of love is only seen in Hollywood, but if there was a window in my skull, you can see it happening every time I strap on my shin-guards and chest protector.

That’s my why for playing. Bluffton and Division III is my how. Anyone that tells you that it isn’t worth going to a D3 college just to play the sport, cannot possibly love the game. And it’s okay to have a platonic relationship with a sport. We, D3 athletes, are looking for something a little deeper.

Know your why and everything else makes sense. The love, the community, the work and the art. That’s why D3.