I'm The Girl Who Left Soccer Behind And I'll Forever Miss The Friends, Cleats, And Orange Peels

I'm The Girl Who Left Soccer Behind And I'll Forever Miss The Friends, Cleats, And Orange Peels

As the saying goes..."You never know what you have until it's gone."

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Ten years. That's a long time to put blood, sweat, and tears into something. I suppose it could have been even longer, but I didn't know that at the time. My decision was rash, ill-thought-out, and all too quickly made. But what do you expect of a 15-year-old who was losing their first love right before their eyes?

Ten years. I wouldn't change those ten years for anything. Oh, how I wish I could have them back.

Let me make this a little clearer for you... Beginning at the age of five I found myself falling hard for a sport, and that sport was soccer. It started out in a church league, but it led to early morning games and weekend tournaments. For ten years soccer was my life. It was all I knew. It was all I wanted to know.

All that changed following the fall season of my freshman year of high school. The majority of the girls on my team decided they no longer wanted to play on the challenge level and were content to playing school ball in the spring, so our team disbanded. That forced me to make a decision. I could either join a different challenge team the following fall, or I could quit CASL soccer altogether. I'm sure by now it's quite clear the decision I made. As opposed to continuing my love, I decided I would focus on academics and work on getting accepted to my dream school.

Looking back on that decision, at the time it seemed right. But now, I realize all the reasons I left soccer were merely excuses for why I thought I wasn't good enough. I'd played with the majority of the same girls for those ten years and it scared me to leave all of those friendships behind in an attempt to try to mesh with another group of girls. Stupid, I know, but at the time it seemed like a big deal.

I'm sure you're curious as to why I didn't just join the school team that next spring. I thought about it, don't get me wrong. The truth is, I ended up talking myself out of it by saying I wouldn't have been good enough to do well on a high school soccer team. Now, I'm not going to say I'm the next Mia Hamm by ANY measure, but I was pretty decent. My reasoning for not joining the school team was ridiculous. But that's the decision I made and now I have to live with that.

So there you have it, at 15 years of age I left behind the sport I loved more than anything in the world. If I were to go back now, I wouldn't have made that same decision. But I can't change the past and I have to live with that.

Regret's a funny thing. At the time you don't feel it, but it's there. It hides in the shadows until you least expect it.

For me, it wasn't until my junior year of high school when I went to my cousin's soccer game and realized the mistake I made. As I sat on the sidelines watching these young girls run around the field, my heart yearned to be able to put my jersey on once more and play the sport I knew oh-so-well.

Of course, there are still opportunities for me to play. I could join an intramural team or tryout for club soccer, but it wouldn't feel the same to me. It's as if I'm too far removed from that young girl who loved that sport with so much passion that it consumed her entire life. The competitive fire and love for playing will always be there, but there's rust. Just as there would be if you left a bike out for years without using it. There's a chance I could one day get back to the skill level I was at, but there's no guarantee. Also, as I'm sure almost any competitor knows, it's infuriating to not be able to compete at the capacity you once did.

Maybe I'm once again making excuses, who knows. None of that really matters though because it will never change the decision I made five years ago. Soccer will always have a place in my heart, and will always be a huge part of who I was and who I am. That sport raised me. Not in the way a parent does, but it taught me so many things about myself. It provided me with structure, friendships, and a happy place. It supported me and loved me.

So, yeah, I do regret giving all that up. The day I gave up soccer, I gave up so much more than just a sport.

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How Cheerleading Made Me Confident

Everyone has their story on how they are the person they are today. This is mine on cheer leading.
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Throughout my life, it was difficult for me to find an interest that truly makes me the person I am today. I tried almost every club and sport, but nothing sparked a flame in me.

When I entered high school as a scared and shy freshman, cheerleading was still something that I was committed too. My first day of practice, I had no idea what I was throwing myself into. When I met a few of the older girls, they were very welcoming. I looked up to them as an underclassman and wanted to be just like them when I was older.

My first year cheering, I was still adjusting to the new high school atmosphere . But I knew cheerleading was something I belonged to. As the year went by, I was gradually coming out of that shell. Sophomore year, I was becoming more confident in myself as a person thanks to cheerleading. Yet I was still nervous to put myself out there. During those two years, I learned how to manage my time with school and a very time-consuming sport. I also learned the qualities of a leader from the captains. This helped a lot when it was my turn to be in charge.

When junior year was beginning, I realized now was my chance to show my coaches that I was capable of being a captain since there was only one senior on the team. Being in charge changed my perspective on what it truly was like to be a leader. It is a very different experience, watching someone being a leader and actually applying it to yourself. I learned little things at first like how to project my voice louder. I was not afraid to make mistakes because I knew that it was going to help me in the future.

As a rising senior, it was finally my time to shine. The cheer program and my team had improved so much since my freshman year. The past three years, being on the team had been preparing me for the moment when it was my turn to take charge. This was my chance to make an impact on the future of my teammates. I had freshman looking up to me, and I knew how they felt because I had once been in the exact same shoes as them.

It was not till cheer camp in July that I realized that this was my final year. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the girls I spent countless hours a week with. At the end of camp, one of the girls who was a year younger than me came and told me, “You’re such a great leader. When we are joking around you know how to get us back in shape so we look good. Thank you for developing me into the great person I am today.” I will never forget this; it has meant so much to me.

Being the leader of a group of girls is something I am very proud of. I am not afraid to be loud and voice my opinion. Confidence is a very important key to being a young adult. To be a leader you need to have confidence. Which is why I am glad I am doing something I love that has also taught me this great life skill. Without cheerleading, I would still be shy and in my shell. Joining this team three years ago was the best decision I have made in my high school career. Being involved with this team has made me into the confident outgoing person I am today. Cheerleading will forever be a part of who I am even while I am in college.

Cover Image Credit: Slate and Stylish Blogspot

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13 Gifts That Any Sports Fanatic Is Sure To Love

These gifts are sure to be a hole in one.

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Check out these 13 gifts that any sports lover in your life will absolutely love this holiday season.

1. NFL Barware Crate

This NFL Barware Crate from Man Crates is ideal for any football fan. It includes pint glasses with any NFL team's logo, bottle openers and a mix of bar nuts. The perfect mix of gifts for the perfect football Sunday.

2. NBA ugly Christmas sweater

If your sports fan is a fan of the NBA like me, they would LOVE this NBA ugly Christmas sweater. It's festive and shows off who you're rooting for this basketball season.

3. Knitted beer mitt

I'm from Wisconsin so, obviously, I'm a Green Bay Packers fan. Most of our football season is played in the winter, and Lambeau Field's nickname is "the frozen tundra," but that doesn't stop us fans from going to Green Bay and supporting our green and gold. And what's a football game without beer? This knitted beer mitt is ideal for any football fan that cheers their team out in the cold.

4. Golf mug

For the golf fan who is also a fan of coffee. With this coffee mug, you also get a mini golf ball and a putter that is actually a pen. During some downtime in the office, start a round of golf.

5. The Sports Bucket List book

This sports bucket list book written by Rob Fleder and Steven Hoffman is a great gift for a sports fan who likes to travel. The book includes 101 different and memorable places, games and matches around the world. Gift this book to your sports lover and help them complete their brand new bucket list!

6. MLB game used uniform wallet

This wallet is definitely something a baseball fan would cherish for a long time. This wallet includes interior dividers that are made from game-used MLB jerseys. You can choose from seven MLB teams.

7. Funny sports socks

One of the most practical ways to tell someone you're busy watching football. These socks are not only cozy but sport the, "Shhh, I'm watching football" saying to let everyone know that you shouldn't be bothered while your feet are up.

8. Vineyard Vines college shirt

Vineyard Vines is a brand that is known to be worn around college campuses. If your sports fan is currently enrolled at a university and loves supporting his colors, this shirt is the perfect fit for him this football season.

9. Unique cuff links

If your man is strictly business but loves strutting off the love for his NFL team, these subtle but super unique cufflinks are best gift he'll receive yet. They are not only classy, but the color inside is actually a piece from an NFL stadium seat!

10. Game used hockey puck bottle opener

For the hockey fanatic that also is a fanatic for brews. These hockey puck bottle openers are not only cool (hockey pun intended) but were once played as game pucks for an NHL game.

11. Sports mug with backboard 

This mug is fun for all ages and comes in other sports like football, basketball and more. For once you won't get yelled at for playing with your food.

12. Their favorite player's jersey

Every sports fanatic has a favorite player. A jersey is one of the easiest but one of the best gifts you can get someone. If they have one already, get them one from a different era or a different color!

13. Tickets to a sporting event

Another easy but perfect gift for a sports fan. Get them tickets to their favorite sporting event. Give them an experience they will never forget.

Please note that all items are in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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