What It's Like To Miss A Sport You Thought You'd Never Think Twice Of

What It's Like To Miss A Sport You Thought You'd Never Think Twice Of

For every runner out there we all know that "our sport is your sports punishment."
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Thinking about pulling my hair back into ponytail, grabbing my spikes and jersey one last time, sets me back into the feels of being a student athlete. As the fall season rolls around, I’m driving by looking out my window at my small town, driving past my old high school seeing the boys practice outside on the field for football. I see the girls practicing soccer or tennis or whatever it may be. Then,I see the cross country runners. I never thought I would say it, but I do miss it.

At the time, I couldn’t wait until it was over. I am surprised now, two years later, that I am saying I miss my high school sports. I was never really dedicated to the sports I was in, I didn’t take them as seriously as I should have like how others did. It makes me feel a little regretful. I did the sport more for enjoyment and to stay in shape or for the people in it. I can remember looking at the clock, sitting in 6th hour, seeing the time come to 2:35pm, knowing I had to go to practice right after school; dreading it I might add. Taking on a sport in high school is a lot of hard work. There is a lot of time, commitment, and dedication put into it, along with doing school work, obtaining your social status in school and still making time for other activities. My advice to everyone in high school right now involved in a sport, don’t wish it away.

There was a time during high school where I didn’t think I could do it anymore so I decided to give it up, so I chose to quit one of my favorite sports. Realizing at the time that I should just grind it out, I decided to go back about a year or so later. Somehow I did miss running three-five miles everyday, missed the bus rides to meets, the pasta nights, the classic Duluth meet and the aches and pains and how tired you get. I don’t know how, but I did miss it all and I still do. It gave me that feeling of accomplishment when I got done with a race or even practice, that I should feel proud of myself and even proud of the team. Too many people underestimate the sport: cross country and track. For every runner out there, we all know that, "our sport is your sports punishment."

I always wished more people went out to try out for cross country. I guess it never really seemed to be the status quo, we had a lot smaller team because of it. All I know is that I made some really good friends on the team, some people I never would have thought about talking to before. It felt like a family, we were all so close. That’s what you should feel when you’re in a sport, through the good times and the hard times. You’re all in it together going through some of the same things. I enjoyed being on a team that was co-ed because a majority of sports is either just boys on the team or just girls. I got to see other people's perspectives on why they joined the sport themselves.

I can still feel my adrenaline going thinking about running a race. That's how I know I still miss it. I can still picture every course I have ever ran like no other. I just hope everyone can have that same feeling and experience as I did, and still feel it two years later.

Cover Image Credit: University Kansas

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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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A Love Letter To My High School Sweetheart

Throughout the rollercoaster of growing together, my heart will always be yours.

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To him,

As this is an open letter I need to give some background information, I first started dating my boyfriend my freshman year of high school. We met during marching band, and from there our friendship grew. At the time, I was an awkward 14 year old unsure of anything boy related. Throughout middle school I had always been overlooked, and when he and I began to talk I thought nothing of it.

With acne all over my face and braces, I had always been the best girl friend and nothing more. I had a crush on him, but in my mind there was no possible way he could like me back. As the marching band season progressed, we became close friends and when our season was over he asked me out (or I asked him out.. this is still up for debate). The following night he had a performance, and I being the awkward person I am, gave him a chocolate turkey. The most romantic gesture ever, right?

As our relationship has progressed over the years it is entertaining to look back on it. Pretty much when either of us bring up our first year dating we both simultaneously cringe, but we were so sweet and young. The awkward first kiss, hand holding, and puppy dog phase is far funnier when you remember how acne riddled we both were.

Neither of us had a relationship (well serious ones) besides each other, and everything was new to us. Addressing each other as boyfriend or girlfriend, HAVING to rearrange schedules so we could hold hands in the hall in between classes, and adopting him as my person were all new things. We obviously overlooked somethings, such as the simply exchanging phone numbers (we were 15, and primarily used Snapchat it was a low point ), but it didn't matter because we were both so happy to be together.

High school is a time many people become their own people, and one thing that happened with our relationship that doesn't always happen was we grew together. We each became our own people and changed over the years, but we still worked. The awkward preteens evolved into young adults in almost a blink of an eye. Before we knew it, he was off to college and I was starting my senior year of high school. One thing that is never fully recognized is how reliant you are on a person until they aren't at your beck and call. It took a while for me to come to terms that Facetime calls wouldn't be a nightly thing anymore and that my 7-5 schedule wouldn't always line up to his college schedule. These challenges were overcome and made seeing his smile even more worth it.

Fast forward a year and now we're both college students, lining up our schedules to see each other. One of the hardest things I found when coming to college was the lack of reliance on me. I had a mental breakdown with all of that, and didn't know what to do. I lost myself, and it took me longer than it should have to realize how to come back together.

My family had always deeply relied on me, and now that I was here it was as though they didn't need me anymore. I was convinced from this I needed to be independent, and I could handle myself. I mistreated it completely, and I needed to fall apart to realize what I had. You are the best thing I have ever had, have, and will ever have. I have grown with you the past four years, and cannot wait to continue growing with you.


Thank you for being my rock, my best friend, and my heart.

Yours forever,

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