You ended up affecting me in more ways than I ever thought possible. I began playing when I could barely understand the basic rules and concepts. I had no idea how much you would mean to me. I devoted my childhood to you and in return you gave me the greatest lessons, people, memories, and experiences I could have ever asked for.
Letting you go was never part of the plan, but I had to accept that all good things come to an end.
Because of you, I learned so much about myself. The emotional, mental, and physical pain that you put me through is something that I would never wish upon anyone, but I am grateful that I was forced to battle through it. Because of you, I learned my strength, my worth, and what it means to fight for something. I thank you for that.
You gave me some of the best and worst times of my life. From winning multiple state championships and traveling and competing around the country to countless injuries and health scares, you were the reason for it all. For you, I cried tears of joy and also tears of pain.
Thanks to you, I met some of the most amazing people in my life. My teammates and coaches gave me some of my favorite memories, my proudest moments, the hardest laughs, and the most indescribable amounts of happiness. These people made it so hard to say goodbye to you.
I will never forget the thrill of game day, the excitement after a big win, or the painful ice baths and late nights in hotel rooms.
Like I said before, all good things eventually come to an end. One day, I decided that I would hang up my equipment for good. I remember the last time that I ran on the field with my team with our club logo printed over my heart. It was the last time I would raise my right hand and chant our club name with my best friends. That day, I would no longer have “athlete” as a personal description, only as something I used to be.
I was leaving everything that I knew. I was leaving the game that made me who I am. I was leaving something that once made me so happy for so long, but had to accept that the fire inside me was no longer there.
While I no longer am physically part of you, you are still and always will be part of me. You gave me things that I will cherish beyond my time on the field. Thank you for making me the person I am today and for the best years of my life.