Editorial: being an athlete doesn’t have to stop after high school

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Being an athlete was always my identifier for the majority of my life.

Playing soccer since the ripe age of two turning three, playing basketball since the fourth grade and dabbling in other sports along the way, sports were pretty much all I ever knew.

From age eight I started playing competitive soccer, and at age 10 I started playing basketball competitively, so the next eight years of my life were a pretty set schedule.

Winters were full of basketball practices, some games, and tournaments almost every weekend, with soccer practice at the field on Sundays and dry land training during the week.

Sprinting from a basketball practice to make an exhibition soccer game was an event that occurred more than once.

Summers were a little calmer because it was just practice and a game each week with the occasional tournament.

The basketball season ended in May, as soon as soccer season started.

When I got to high school, the combination of high school sports plus my two competitive sports I played for my city consumed my entire being.

I was an athlete in every sense of the word.

Early morning practices turned into late nights at the field, and 18-hour days full of sports and school were just part of life.

The problem with identifying as an athlete is that when it stops, the whole world does too.

Never being super amazing at either sport, and never realizing that it takes practice and dedication to take it to the next level, 18 is where it all stopped for me.

Identifying as something for your whole life and then it all coming to a halt doesn’t mean all those great memories and the athleticism doesn’t exist anymore, it’s just a switch up in the routine. I still write and talk about sports, I still play the odd intramural and I still have a dream of working in sports post-grad.

None of my teammates went on to play sports either, but some of my classmates who played other sports had full-ride Division 1 scholarships to go play a sport they loved in the States; three things I wanted so bad but would never achieve.

The summer after I turned 18, as I’m a November baby who never actually was the age of her competitive group, a few girls I used to play competitive with attempted to make a team.

But eight girls out of a roster of 20 would show up and the same set of girls that once won a league together for their city could no longer win a game.

No one took it as seriously because there were no practices or coaches anymore; that structure we all knew so well for over a decade just vanished without any warning. I wish I could have stayed 17 forever.

I also started working for the club I grew up playing with.

It was the first tournament I worked at instead of played in for the first time in 10 years; I cried as soon as the trophy ceremony started.

Identifying as something for your whole life and then it all coming to a halt doesn’t mean all those great memories and the athleticism doesn’t exist anymore, it’s just a switch up in the routine. I still write and talk about sports, I still play the odd intramural and I still have a dream of working in sports post-grad.

I never wanted to play sports as a career, but I also never thought it was going to end as quickly as it did.

I still get jealous seeing varsity athletes on campus because they just got four more years of living that dream after high school.

The dream doesn’t necessarily have to come to an end, you just have to find alternate channels to live it through.

Tags:

Leave a Reply