Becoming A NARP Was The Best Thing I Ever Did For Myself
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Becoming A NARP Was The Best Thing I Ever Did For Myself

Giving up the sport you dedicated countless hours to isn't easy but, it made me a happier, healthier person.

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Becoming A NARP Was The Best Thing I Ever Did For Myself

I made the decision to become a NARP (Non-Athletic Regular Person) about a month after the conclusion of my freshman year of college. Softball season had just ended, I had sustained my fourth concussion, I had a torn labrum and the beginnings of arthritis forming in my throwing shoulder, and was faced with the harsh reality that no matter what any doctor did, I'd never be playing without pain. Whether it be a headache or pain in my shoulder that made me want to throw up every time I had to throw, I had realized I was never going to be 100%. I didn't even remember what it felt like to play at 100%. Softball wasn't fun anymore, it just hurt. So, as I was laying on my boyfriend's bed crying, I finally admitted to myself, and him, that playing softball in college wasn't going to work. Now, over a year later, I've realized that becoming a NARP was the best thing I could have done for myself- physically, emotionally, and academically.

Coming into my sophomore year, I was lost. My entire college experience to that point had been class, softball, and my teammates. All of a sudden, I had all of these free time that I didn't know what to do with. I hadn't realized how much time practice and physical therapy had taken out of my daily schedule. I didn't even know what I liked to do besides sports. So I went to the involvement fair and signed up for a bunch of clubs or activities that I didn't really understand and tried to invent myself as a someone other than a softball player.

Although I had no idea what any of my non-athletic interests were, I suddenly had the time and energy to find out. All of a sudden, I was able to be a normal college student who didn't have to plan my classes and homework around practices, games, or trips to the trainer. I could sleep on my right shoulder and not wake up in the middle of the night in pain. I didn't have to go to class in sweats (I still did) but I was able to look presentable if I wanted to. I wasn't setting three alarms to make sure I got up in time for 6 am practice and I didn't have to go outside until the snow had already been "shoveled." I became a student, not an athlete who happens to go to college too.

Looking back, the moment I decided to stop playing was the best thing that could have happened for me. I fell back in love with watching, and occasionally playing, softball. My brain can start to recover from all of the trauma I put it through, whether it be getting a concussion or attempting to practice and go to class all day sleep-deprived and dehydrated. I have enough time to do my work and no longer feel pressured to complete an assignment in forty-five minutes because I need to go to the trainers before practice. I'm not nearly as emotionally or physically exhausted as I was my freshman year. Becoming a NARP was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do but it made me a much happier person.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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