A true athlete will know what it’s like to get up early and hit the gym, court, field, track, alley, etc. The feeling of relief that you get the moment you get there, knowing that this is the place where you’re in control. That is where you are dominant and no one can tell you differently. This type of athlete knows what it’s like to spend hours analyzing video to better their technique and to make a playlist with the perfect songs that will both pump them up and help them find the inner peace that they so desperately need before a game or match.
The hours and the money poured into a sport that has dominated and monopolized your life for years will be insurmountable but it’s all worth it right? All the blood, sweat, and tears that you put into your sport will pay off one day, right? Everything you’ve worked so hard for will all fall into place right? These questions haunt you and then one day you wake up and walk away from it all. You realize that everything you have been through isn’t worth the small chance that you’ll make it big. You wake up one day and say, “I don’t love this sport the way I used to.”
Now I'm not saying this, this is just a sudden moment of realization. Once it happens, you realize that this has been coming for a long time. It started as not wanting to go to practice. Then it turned to not getting excited for competitions anymore. Then you realize that all the injuries you've endured are starting to catch up to you. And then one day you say enough is enough. You throw in the towel and in that moment, you are done with the sport that meant the world to you.
For me, it happened after my freshman year of college. My sport was bowling. My college bowling team was the best team on campus, we were bringing home trophies and doing great things. And I just felt so disconnected from it all. I have been bowling since I was 11 years old, so for about half of my life. And over the years I had gotten quite good at it. The year I graduated high school (c/o 2014) I had won the high school girls individual county championships and had already committed to college for bowling. I was chasing the dream.
Well after one hip injury, and then another, and then an ankle injury, and then a wrist injury, I said enough is enough and walked away. I doubted my decision enough to come back to bowling for the summer. It was clear that it was a mistake, though. Every week when I go to bowling, I do not feel connected to it like I used to. The love, the passion, that I had for my sport wasn't there anymore and I was growing to resent it.
It's heartbreaking to fall out of love with a sport that you dedicated a majority of your life to. I think the worst part is feeling like I let everyone down. My dad, my coaches, my teammates, and myself. But I stand by my decision to quit. I never wanted it to get to the point where I hate bowling.
I cherish the memories and the friends that I have made because of my sport and I wouldn't change a moment of it for anything. I have a lot to thank bowling for, that is why when I look back, I smile at the past like it was an old friend and not a bitter memory.