When To Limit An Athlete To One Sport?

When To Limit An Athlete To One Sport?

There is no real answer.
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This is a question that doesn't really have a clear answer. Whenever you have incredibly athletic kids, sometimes it can be hard to choose when it is time to pick a sport and stick with that one or let them play all of them.

This was what my parents struggled with when my sister and I were growing up. Being the oldest in my family, I do not think that they expected me to be as athletic as I turned out to be. My first year of soccer all I did was kick the ball out of bounds because I thought that was a good thing. One day I guess a switch flipped and I became fast and talented. My sister had to go to my games, and being only eighteen months apart she looked up to me and wanted to play soccer as well.

Soon after I was playing all of the sports, as was my sister. We were playing softball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. I remember my other friend's parents told them to pick one or two sports and only do those. My parents never made me or my sister do that. I liked all of them and I was good at all of them. Every season I had something new to look forward to. Also, I don't think that my parents had the heart to make me give up one.

My sister ended up quitting softball in third grade, narrowing her down to only volleyball, basketball, and softball. She didn't seem too upset about it, but there was no way I wanted to quit softball- I loved it, so I kept playing. However, because my sister quit she was able to focus more on other sports. We were very young, but my sister was attending more and more soccer practices that I wasn't able to attend over the summer because of softball. She was getting faster, more in shape, and had better ball skills.

Freshman year I went into high school and finally had to make a decision. Softball and volleyball were the same season and I had to choose between one of them. I was completely torn because although I was better at volleyball, I enjoyed softball more. I ended up going with softball. I missed volleyball a lot, though, but I also enjoyed the season that I played in softball. That freshman year I also played basketball and then soccer.

The next year, I let my friends talk me into playing volleyball instead of softball. I went to volleyball practice and was excited to finally make a comeback and play again. However, being there was kind of boring and I immediately wished I would have gone to softball instead. I dealt with my decision and kept going with my volleyball tryouts. We had to run the mile in volleyball. I've always had a lot of stamina and could run pretty fast, so I finished first by about a lap. This is when the cross country coaches approached me and asked me to run cross country instead of playing volleyball. I went home and thought about it, then decided that cross country was probably a lot better for me, so that's what I did.

Cross country season was fun. I learned a lot of new things, but it was also very tough. Out of all the sports I played in my life, cross country was probably the most difficult. I was going to three practices in one night (cross country, basketball, and soccer), hardly eating, and staying up until one o'clock in the morning to do homework. My legs started failing on me and it was incredibly hard to keep up. After this cross country season, I decided it was time to cut down to two sports: soccer and basketball. It was weird having a break in the fall, or somewhat of a break because I was still playing soccer that season as well. It was something that I wasn't used to, though. I got bored.

My sister is an example of singling yourself to one sport. She went into high school and didn't want to play volleyball at all and by her sophomore year she decided basketball was too much so she quit that as well. She was able to only focus on soccer and nothing else. Because of this, she got a lot better and faster and stronger in soccer.

The difference between my experience in sports and hers was I was playing to have fun and she was playing to go somewhere. I didn't have the mental focus to only play one sport, I loved them all. Although I was passionate about soccer, I was also passionate about basketball and the other two sports. She wanted to go division one in soccer. She had a goal in her mind and did what she needed to do to get to that goal. I had the memories of being a part of five different teams in my high school years. I have a memory from every sport and every season I had something new to look forward to. I didn't end up where my sister did though, because my time was split between multiple sports.

I know my sister wouldn't have it any other way. She loved soccer more than anything else in this world. She was very good at it. She ended up going to Indiana State University on a soccer scholarship. She ended up breaking many records for her high school team, and being the star. She reached her full potential, or at least got very close to it because she completely dedicated herself to that sport.

I, also, wouldn't have it any other way. I got to experience a little bit of everything, and I enjoyed all of it. Every season I had something new to look forward to. I was the most in shape I had ever been in my life from the sprints, long distance, and weight training all combined. I never peaked, though. I never reached what I really could have been in basketball or soccer because I was always focused on something else in the off season. This didn't matter to me, though, because my heart was truly in every sport that I played. When I didn't come back for cross country my junior year, I did start to focus more on soccer. This was when I started to get burnt out. It was too much and I started to not feel the same. If I would've played a fall sport, I honestly don't think I would have been burnt out on soccer. I would've been dying waiting for the season to start.

So, if you have a kid who is extremely athletic, or if you are that kid who is extremely athletic, ask yourself what your goal is. Are you playing these sports to have fun and experience high school or are you looking to go to a division one school and be extremely competitive? Do you truly have a passion for all the sports you play, or do you dread going to the practices and games of one of them? Are you the type of person that would get bored or burnt out only playing one sport or do you love that one sport enough to where you will never lose interest in it? No matter what decision you make, if its to cut out all the sports except one or play them all, you won't regret it.

Cover Image Credit: The Eagle's Eye

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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