It’s hard for people that have never fallen in love with a sport to understand the loss when it comes time to find new passions. But everyone can understand the pain of losing something they adore and the never-ending need to explore the “what ifs” and the “I would haves.” As a previous youth, high school and collegiate athlete, it hasn’t been an easy transition into a life without a team, a coach, a practice schedule, and pregame jitters. So, I’ve decided to write a letter to my past and the future I never had to help both myself in coping and athletes or passionates everywhere who are in need of a little inspiration.
To My 14-year-old Self,
If only you knew the way things would play out. Trust me, you wouldn’t be dreading practice or arguing with your dad about how a high school social life is more important than a sport. You’d be working your butt off knowing that the competitive edge and team environment would once be gone without your say or acknowledgment. You should be enjoying practice instead of wishing you could go hang out at Starbucks or spending the evening at the movies.
Looking back on it in a few years, some of those practices will be the best times of your life. Love your teammates: cherish their friendship and their talents. They are your rocks and the only friends who will understand the demand of the sport and the pressure of getting a scholarship. There will come a day when no matter how badly you want to, no matter how hard you work, no matter how many braces you wear, you won’t be able to play anymore. And trust me, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt very badly.