I Lost My Love For The Game In Just Four Years

I Lost My Love For The Game In Just Four Years

And I want it back.


So if you're reading this, I'm going to assume you've played sports at some time in your life. Whether or not you stuck with it or fell in love with it, is another story. But I was the girl whose world revolved around her sport. I wanted the soccer ball pillows in my room, I sported my soccer tournament t-shirts everywhere, and I kept up with the USA Women's soccer team's every move. Soccer was my life and love. My closest friends came from soccer. My favorite memories came from soccer trips and tournaments all over the world. My biggest lessons learned came from soccer. For years I swear it was like everything in me was created for the game and I thrived.

I never struggled with depression or anxiety, I always made new friends, I was given new goals to strive for, and was always healthy and happy. Honestly, I give a lot of my stability in childhood to the consistency of the sport and the team atmosphere no matter wherever I got moved to. I was never cut, never didn't make a tryout, and often got asked to play up on the higher teams. I got to play on the Olympic Developmental team for a couple of years and I played on a German team when we lived there. My schedule revolved around soccer and hanging out with my non-soccer friends rarely happened on the weekends unless we didn't have a soccer game.

I don't say all of this to boast and brag, I was most definitely never the absolute best player. But I share this all to really let it sink in how much this sport meant to me and how much I naturally and without hesitation, poured into it. Throughout all of those years, in the back of my head, was the one big deal goal: college soccer. Scholarships. Playing for a college. So I toured colleges, talked to coaches, and sent out emails. I fell in love with a campus in Southern Alabama and last minute jumped in a full day tryout camp. And just like before, I wasn't cut, I made the first college team I tried out for. And it was the highest level of collegiate athletics. What are the odds right? Could life be better?

The problem is, no one ever prepares you for the reality of college athletics. It's not for fun anymore. Your teammates will be more selfish than they were before and you may struggle to find genuine friendships amongst them. Your coach won't tell you straight up, you'll see blatant favoritism, and chances are you'll give absolutely everything you have, and still see no reward, no scholarships, no playing time, no respect.

It's a harsh reality and it smacks you in the face over and over again and it slowly but surely sucks that love for the game out of you.

You try to hold onto it. You try to remember that excitement and sheer joy you used to have before practice with your teammates. You try to focus on the positives and tell yourself that any sort of reward for your work and time and love doesn't matter, except it does. Because you used to do this all for love. But now it's hard to even do that. Because it's not for fun. You get yelled at and put on the line if you goof off in practice, you have teammates talking behind your back, you have a coach who tells you one thing and tells someone something different. There's no consistency or stability anymore. It's not a safe haven or getaway from the rest of the world.

So in just four college years, I lost my love for the game. I don't want to walk out onto that field anymore. I don't want to lace up my boots and juggle for fun. I'll watch my younger siblings play and only then do I miss it a little bit. I miss the creativity and freedom and fun. But when I see my teammates getting ready for practice or talking about the team or games coming up or coach, I don't want anything to do with it. I put my four years in. I saw it through. And sure it taught me perseverance and hard work and humility, but it also sucked me dry. It turned me into someone I wasn't and in just four years I lost my love for the sport I loved my whole life.

Popular Right Now

Why An Athlete Is Not Defined By Their Level

Pressure can drive athletes crazy.

With tryout season among us, it is so important that this be addressed before the teams for this upcoming year are formed. So many athletes that tryout, don't make the team they want and either quit to "take a year off" or jump ship to a gym that promises them to place the athlete on a higher level. I know that every athlete wants to be on level 5 team, the division is the most prestigious of all of them, especially because going to worlds is the end game for most athletes. The problem these days in the cheerleading world, is that our athletes are trying to level up at a rate that is just not quite realistic. If an athlete is on a level 1 team the chances of her being on level 4 next year is slim. It is necessary for athletes to experience each level for at least a year to learn all of the fundamentals of the level and build on them for their foundation as an athlete to be more concrete. This produces the best athlete possible.

A lot of athletes think that all that they need to jump levels is tumbling and that is just not the case. When teams are formed, coaches take a look at many different things, these qualities include but are not limited to: mental toughness, dedication, tumbling, stunting abilities, pace of learning, dance and attitude. Contrary to popular belief, there are so many factors that go into forming a team. This team not only has to be suitable for individual athletes but putting a team together is like a puzzle and as coaches we have to put a team together that will work well and have all the necessary percentages of skills to be competitive in their division.

We are concerned about building well-rounded athletes, not an athlete that is only capable in one facet of cheerleading. Some athletes are great level 4 tumblers, but have level 2 stunt ability and those two will not equal a level 4 athlete until we boost the stunting ability of said athlete. Putting an athlete on a team to just tumble is doing a disservice to not just the team, but also the athletes themselves. If this athlete joins a level 4 team to just tumble all year, when their tumbling progresses to that of a level 5 athlete, they will still have level 2 stunting skills and won't be put to good use when they are level 5 eligible. A well-rounded athlete is the kind of athlete that wins worlds.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When athletes take their time and learn their level, they are not just learning completely new skills each year, but building on them. If done correctly, each year an athlete should improve on all points of cheerleading and not just one. The rules in each level lead to progressions for the level that it directly follows, so that athletes can safely learn skills by going up the ladder one step at a time. What most don't realize is that skipping steps is such an unnecessary practice. If Susie stays on level 2 for an extra year, she is not "learning nothing", she is improving on the skills that she didn't quite execute completely the year before, this will perfect her performance in this level and give a more solid foundation for her to build on when she is on a level 3 team.

Pressure can drive athletes crazy. Parents, your athletes have so many years ahead of them to be on a level 5 team and go to worlds, so pushing for a 10 year old, that is just not ready, to be on a level 4 team is unreasonable. Let your 10-year-old learn maturity and mental toughness at a level that is more appropriate, when your athlete is pushing herself too hard it takes the fun out of the tryout process and creates unnecessary stress on the athletes. Lastly, please be sure to support whatever decision your coaches make for your athlete's placement, they know your child and they are not trying to hurt their pride, but build them up so they can accomplish all of their goals as an athlete. Know that the level your kid makes this year doesn't define him or her as an athlete, but helps them grow into the cheerleader they have the ability to become!

Cover Image Credit: National Cheerleaders Association

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Tiger Is Back And 2019 Is Starting To Look Up

Tiger Woods might now have the greatest comeback story in sports history.


It's no secret that Tiger Woods means a lot to the game of golf. I wrote about his influence back in September when he achieved his one and only tournament win in 2018, first since 2013. I did, however, celebrate his win with a caveat of sorts: I wouldn't say he was back.

In golf, no one cares about how big your prize purse is, how many endorsements you've got or even how many tournaments you win. A golfer's career is measured by how many Majors they win. So for me, I couldn't claim Tiger was back until he secured at least one more Major victory before he decided to hang up the clubs for good.

But now, with a Masters championship under his belt and another green jacket to hang in the closet, I can safely say without a doubt in my mind that Tiger is back.

The biggest question with Tiger was whether or not he could carry the momentum from his Tour Championship into the Masters. Tiger has gotten our hopes up before, but things felt different the moment Tiger claimed that first tournament win in what felt like forever.

And honestly, there's no better way for the world's biggest golfer than in the world's biggest tournament. The "Tiger Effect" is very real, and the numbers are there to prove it. Despite having to tee off early for the final round with threesomes instead of duos to avoid storms, the Masters still delivered incredibly high TV ratings as Tiger played his way into contention the past few days. According to CBS, the final round of the Masters delivered a 7.7 rating which is the highest it's been in 34 years. I'll never forget where I was when Tiger won his fifth green jacket, and I'm certainly not alone in saying that.

So what does this mean for Tiger's legacy? For one, the argument of "can Tiger win another major before he retires" can finally be put to rest. I'm not a huge fan of the talking heads in the sports industry, but watching this video of the slue of bad Tiger takes just brings a smile to my face. It also resurfaces the Jack Nicklaus debate as the greatest golfer of all time. Having now secured his 15th Major win, breaking Nicklaus' record at 18 Major wins seems entirely possible. Statistically, Tiger winning another Major is not outside of the realm of possibility. Julius Boros was the oldest player to win a Major at 48, so Tiger at 43 theoretically gives him another five years. One thing's for sure, the entire sports world will be watching.

Related Content

Facebook Comments