Humans are dynamic. Rather than remain static, we change and adapt to the conditions under which we are placed. This applies to many circumstances: academic interests, hobbies, sports, etc. We change in small degrees over time, our interests changing along with them.

Due to this, the things we once loved can just as easily become the things we dread. Although this does not often occur completely on its own, a simple catalyst can cause this reaction to occur, altering the way we look upon once-beloved interests.

Ever since I began playing basketball in second grade, it was "my sport." When tryouts for the travel team came around, I jumped at the chance. The team quickly became a safe and positive environment where I could further my love of the game, and my basketball career continued. In sixth grade, I made the decision to try out for an AAU basketball team as well, in which we played tournaments almost every weekend and practiced at a neighboring high school throughout the week.

That first year went extremely well. Although the coaching atmosphere was certainly harsher than what I had experienced in the past, it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. The other girls on the team were incredible, both personally and on the court, and in some of them I found some of my best friends.

The next year was not as great as the first. However, it was not terrible either. I quickly found that the coaching style this particular coach employed was not compatible with my style of playing. His harsh words and judgements made me lose confidence in my game rather than incite me to improve it. No matter how hard I worked on my shot, his words would flash across my mind, causing me to retreat away from the sport I once loved. I do not blame my coach for this change, but rather myself for no longer having the tough skin to shrug off his words. Rather than ricochet as they had in the past, each word was a dagger in my carefully-crafted armor.

The third year, I rarely saw playing time. At the beginning of each game, I would lace up my sneakers, not knowing if I would even step foot on the court. Getting less than one minute of playing time per game became the new normal. As I watched my friends flourish and improve around me, despite our coaches cutting remarks, I sat there as a glorified water girl at the end of the bench.

Yet, I couldn't bring myself to quit. Wasn't this the game I once loved? Weren't these the people I loved playing it with?

Eventually, it came time to play basketball for my school team once again, and I reluctantly decided to remain on the team. Although I had no problem with the atmosphere in which I was playing, I no longer loved basketball as I once did. I came to dread each time I stepped on the court, and stopped practicing in my free time as well.

The following year I did not return to the team.

I'm not telling you this to complain about my coach. This change occurred within myself - his words were simply a catalyst. Instead, I tell you this because it's okay to change what you love! Had I quit when I had first wanted to, I would've discovered my other interests much sooner. When what you love becomes toxic, you are the only one who can make the decision to remove yourself from the situation.

Basketball was a sport I once loved to play and still love to watch (Go Wildcats!!!). However, quitting was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I, in no way, endorse quitting. However, I don't endorse doing things that make you unhappy either. The sport I loved became the sport I dreaded, and quitting gave time to cultivate new loves and new interests in its place.