Dear former athlete,
Looking back at where it all started, I’m sure you can feel the initial happiness that the sport brought. I’m sure you remember all those hard practices, all those wins, and all those teammates. All the unforgettable memories that you will cherish forever. That’s what a sport can do to a person.
Looking back, I remember absolutely falling in love with cross country and track. There were no high expectations, there was no pressure, and there was no “I”. I can still remember laying in bed the night before meets and visioning the race in my head and all the excitement and nerves it gave me. High school sports were fun. But then I decided to run collegiately and the sport I once loved, the sport I once did for fun, was now nothing but an obligation and something I felt forced to do. I no longer had passion for the sport I once fell in love with and realizing that was the hardest thing for me. I started realizing that running is not my identity. Sports do not make you the person you are. And I, was much much more than a runner.
So I quit..
I gave it up. I remember telling both of my coaches I was no longer going to be in the sport. I explained why, told them I’d maybe run for fun, thanked them for everything, and walked away, leaving nothing but the sport I once loved in the past.
Looking back now, I realize how much I miss it. How much I miss my teammates, the wins, the carb loading dinners, the weather. Everything. I miss it all. At the same token, I realize I made a smart decision on my part. I now get the chance to run for fun and do it on MY TIME. I get the chance to enjoy it again and be happy while doing so.
I thank cross country and track everyday for the memories and for all the people and coaches I met along the way. I thank those sports for making me work for something. And most importantly, I thank those sports for teaching me self reliance and hardships.
Sometimes the final “play” doesn’t have to be the end.
If giving up a sport taught me one thing, it’s that sometimes better things are around the corner, and there’s ALWAYS other opportunities.