Volleyball, basketball, football, cross country, track & field, bowling, and even gymnastics. Just some of the sports high schools across the nation offer as not just an extracurricular, but an identity. People who participate in sports often identify as an athlete because they take pride in their performance and the team they play for. Playing sports in high school is common even for people who are a bit more nerdy like me. Obviously, depending on where you live depends on what sports are taken more seriously than others. However, a number of high school athletes that go on to play college sports are very few.
I played local rec league baseball and soccer and I ran cross country from 7th grade all the way through high school and I ran one season of track my senior year. I wasn't always the greatest, but I worked hard and focused on my personal goals. I still identified as an athlete and knew that I wouldn't compete on a team at ODU. But why would I still have reservations about this? It's a part of me that was longer shown through games or meets. No one was asking me when my next game or meet was. Everyone was just surprised when I told them I was hitting the gym quite a few times a week. I need to stay in shape too!
If you don't play sports in college even when it comes to intramurals that's okay. You don't have to continue playing sports in order to be an athlete. If you still consider yourself an athlete that's all that matters. I still consider myself an athlete even though I don't play sports at ODU. I go to the gym and do what I can. I still push myself to get better physically and mentally and that's what being an athlete means. At least that's how I define it. How do you define it?