All throughout high school and college, sports are easily one of the biggest things talked about and participated in. Whether you enjoy baseball, football, track and field, soccer, or any other sports, there is a lot of pressure beginning in middle school to join a sport. I gave into this pressure, even though I knew even as a seventh grader that sports were not really my thing.
I first tried dance team. People who say that dance does not count as a sport has never tried going to a practice. Practices were four or five nights a week for multiple hours, with difficult routines to remember and skills to acquire and maintain and perfect. Plus, competitions on weekends and even some weeknights made it very difficult to focus on much else.
Also, when you are a person who thrives off of compliments and positive encouragement and your coach specifically says she is not the type of person to give out compliments, it made me feel like maybe I did not fit in.
So I later, quit.
Then in tenth grade, I tried track and I really enjoyed it! I decided to be a thrower because I have always hated running. I found really good friends and I enjoyed lifting every other day. However, I sometimes felt discouraged because it seemed as though everyone around me was getting better and I was staying stationary. I, unfortunately, did not end up continuing in college because the commitment was too big and I was worried I would not be able to keep up with school. So I had to end that.
In the beginning of the semester, a friend encouraged me to join rugby with her, assuring me that it was laid back and that the practices would not be too difficult. My first practice ended up being my last practice. I got so exhausted from the heat and the insanely difficult drills that I had to sit out for 75% of the practice because I felt like I would pass out. I still support the team and I watched them get all the way to the Final 4 in the nation (Go Gusties!), but when the spring comes and they start up again, I am pretty sure I will not be joining.
What I have learned through all these years is that it is okay to not be sporty or athletic.
You do not need to join a sport to make friends or to get into shape. There are lots of different ways to make friends or get into shape while actually enjoying yourself. One thing I found was musicals. I found a lot of good friends through it and I actually had fun and danced and it definitely felt like a work out to repeat the dances over and over! I also joined Key Club and found a passion for serving the community.
Basically, do not worry about the pressures of joining a sport. If you’re like me and know that it isn’t your thing, just know that there are a lot of different clubs and activities that you can join. You don’t need to try to fit in with the student athletes because that lifestyle is not realistic for everyone. Plus, who would be the fans if everyone always joined sports?