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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I Graduated A Week Ago And This Is What I Would Tell My Freshman Self

Fourth, remember it's high school, so live a lot, not just a little

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As thousands of high school seniors graduated this spring, I think that reflecting on four years of hard work is important. My freshman year, I was new to the school I was going to, living in the dorms and had the worst haircut known to man. I was dead set on growing up to be a nuclear engineer, but I ended up being so wrong about what my high school career would entail. If I could write a letter to myself it would say this:

Charlie,

First and foremost, everything turns out better than those sleepless nights told us it would. Even though we go on to participate in several groups on campus, do a lot for Cranbrook, and make a bunch of amazing friends, there are some things we could do better to improve the next four years.

Second, open your mind to new ideas, especially when it comes to college. I know you want to go to MIT or some other good engineering school, but you should take a breather and evaluate yourself. After arguing with mom and dad about what major you should pursue, it would be better if you thought about it sooner rather than later. Also, it would save us from a summer of chemistry classes.

The only person that determines what you want to study and where you apply is you, so think about you and what you want. Math and science ends up not being our thing, but you find a passion for a field that gives you a feeling of satisfaction and impact.

Third, do not be afraid to socialize. The guys in the dorm you are too nervous or afraid to talk to are going to become some of your best friends, so there is no point in waiting to make friends later in the school year. You will go on to have movie nights, trips out to dinner and the mall filled with laughter. You also do not want to miss out on the moments you have with friends from in and outside of the dorm that make your heart feel full and help you know you are in the right place.

Fourth, remember it's high school, so live a lot, not just a little. Being high strung and serious all the time because you had to keep your college resume in mind ended up serving you very little and you missed out on some good fun. Also, learn to play FIFA because we sucked at it and how to play soccer for that matter.

Fifth, take better care of your mental health. The stress and anxiety is not worth it and it gets you nowhere except deeper into the rabbit hole. As I said before, the sleepless nights staring at the ceiling worrying about college, the future, friends, what someone thinks of you or who you are going to ask to prom is not helpful. A good jog once or twice a week to clear your mind would have helped out with more than just your mental health too.

Lastly, change the haircut, we both know it's bad, and be ready for a great four years.

Sincerely,

A More Than Satisfied High School Graduate

Cover Image Credit:

Charlie Panfil

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