Every person has an identity and what makes up that identity is different for each and every one of us. Some may consider art a part of themselves but for me that was sports. Ever since I was old enough to play, I have played. Everything from baseball to volleyball to football and everything in between. From wiffle ball in the backyard to bean bags, you name it I gave it a go. Sports were always a no-brainer. In high school I played baseball and football and loved it, but as time goes by and you get older your life changes and the things you never thought about start to become factors in big decisions about your life. The first time I had to think about sports in that way was half way through high school. It was about that time where high schoolers start to think about college and where they would like to attend. Because of this, it was the first time I had to consider quitting a sport I loved to play. Baseball would be that sport.
Fast-forward to college. My first two years I enjoyed playing football and had good friends on the team. But college is a time to explore and find other interesting things to become a part of and I could see all my friends had something they really enjoyed to do. The more I thought about that, the more I thought about how much time football required of a student-athlete. For the second time in my life I had to think about what was more important to me. The more I thought about it the more I saw a sport I loved, for majority of my life, become less of a priority. I realized that there was no other benefit to play other than for enjoyment. I had made friends and the team was a brotherhood which made my decision much harder in the long run.
The way I looked at it was that I needed to focus on myself, as I realized that football was just for enjoyment the more I thought about what I would do in the future as I knew football would not be a career path.
With that knowledge, came the second time I would no longer play a sport in my life.
It felt weird at first. A person who identified himself as an athlete, no longer plays sports. It was a tough decision, but was ultimately the best choice for me.
The decision was hard enough and I thought it would get easier with time but there were other factors that I had not taken into account with my decision. Our school was pretty small and as I had mentioned before being a part of the football team was like a brotherhood. What I had not taken into account was how my personal decision would affect my teammates and friends.
With a decision that already weighed heavily on me, the after effects continued. I didn’t think of how my decision would affect those around me, primarily teammates and friends on the team. For the most part friends were supportive and that made it easier to move on to a life without football. What I soon found out was that some teammates had gone on to resent me for quitting the team. I had betrayed the brotherhood of the team by leaving. I had no idea some would feel this way and had made it difficult to deal with the decision as it was very tough personally.
The more I thought about it the more I felt bad about my decision. But like for many other situations, time is the only thing that helps. The more time went on the more I realized it didn’t matter what they thought and they’d eventually get over it. I finally realized that I made the decision for myself and I am better off for it.
I guess the point of this story is to always put yourself first. It doesn’t matter what other people think as long as you make decisions for yourself first because in the end that’s all that matters.
Keep on keepin’ on,