Picking a college is one of the most important decisions of your life. When picking, I had to choose to play softball at a college I wasn't that interested in or say screw softball and go to a school I fell in love with.
My main concern was: if I have the potential to play, why would I pass it up? Why would I not continue a sport I was good at and loved to play? The answer took a lot of patience and mental breakdowns, but I had to put everything I could think of into perspective.
I had coaches contacting me as an 8th grader asking me about my future plans; of course with my slight cockiness, I wanted to play division 1 softball, because at this rate, I knew I was good enough. I always enjoyed going to practice; I would stay after to hit and go to catching clinics because I knew what I had to do to get there.
Fast forward a few years, things changed when I had to start touring colleges and didn't love softball as much as I used to.
After looking at over 20+ schools across the midwest, I made a list of schools for softball and a list of schools for academics. While going through this long drawn out decision, I had to physically write down everything that came to mind when I heard that specific college.
For the softball route: I wrote positives like, playing a sport I loved, a team aspect, staying in shape, traveling, scholarships, extra tutoring. Then I wrote down things like... waking up at 6 am for workouts, getting burnt out, not as much social time, the nursing program difficulty, putting pressure on myself, practicing all the time, no greek life... the list kept piling up.
For the "screw softball" route, I just thought: “If I’m not going on to do anything with softball, it’s time for the next chapter of my life. It was time to focus on going to school somewhere that I knew I loved, fit in perfectly, and of course, based my decision of my education."
I had my mind set, until I also put into consideration how my parents would feel.
Obviously they will support me either way, but the question that kept coming to my head was, “Did they do all this for nothing..?” I just kept thinking about all the driving to and from practice, overnight tournaments and hotels, concessions, an unesscesary amount of tournament t-shirts, the expenses of new equipment and uniforms, the dirt all over the house, the amount of laundry, and times they had to leave work early... Was it all for nothing?
My parents sat me down one night after one of my many breakdowns and said, "We wouldn't have traded anything in the world to not have you play softball for so many years. You made friends, we made friends, you were given so many new opportunities, and we loved watching you play more than anything."
That is when my decision became a lot easier. I chose the non-softball route and attended a bigger school 5 1/2 hours from my house, which also consisted of a nursing program I loved from the second I did my tour.
Since then, I have joined many intramurals like hockey, volleyball, and basketball (excluding softball), and I have joined a sorority who I would consider my family just like my softball team always was. I enjoy picking when I want to go to the gym, sleeping in and having days off, and having the freedom I never would have had with softball.
I give props to college athletes because you guys do incredible work and put so much effort and time into something that I wasn’t cutout to do. Seriously, I don't know how you guys do it.
I sometimes do wonder what my life would be like if I chose to play, but I have never been happier with the school I chose and the people I’ve met. I love knowing I made the right decision, as tough as it was, and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.