I grew up playing sports since I was five years old. They constantly surrounded me throughout my childhood and into my adolescence. The sports that I have played throughout my life are what taught me the most important lessons and shaped me into who I am. I've had my fair share of bad coaches and season-ending injuries, but nothing has ever stopped me from loving the game.
Soccer has been my favorite sport since I can remember. My mom didn't let me play for the town club team until the team was pretty much full. I tried out for the team when I was ten and I unfortunately didn't make it. I was very upset and angry until I found the opportunity to play for a different club team nearby.
My good friend and I joined together and played on the team until we were 14. The group of girls and coaches that I had the honor to work with will be something that I will remember and cherish forever. Even though the situation was hard for me to adjust to at first, it was an experience that taught me to be my best. I stopped looking down on myself for not making the original team, and I used all my energy towards making myself a better player.
When high school came around, I began to play for that team with a group of girls who I had never played with before. I felt misplaced and unsure because all of the other girls had been playing with each other for years. This was just another chance for me to prove myself.
I knew that I wasn't as good as a few of the other girls, but that is what made me work harder than ever. I was given varsity opportunities as a sophomore, and I scored my first goal in one of the state tournament games. Hearing people cheer for me while on a team where I thought I'd never be able to fit in was a moment I will never forget. I realized my hard work was finally paying off.
Due to a condition that caused chronic feet pain for years on end, I had to have surgery on both my feet during my junior year of high school. This resulted in me not being able to play soccer or any other sports. Sitting on the bench and watching my teammates have the ability to run and kick the ball all they want tortured me.
However, after a difficult and painful year, I decided to play for the team again my senior year. I was still in a great deal of pain and my feet could not perform the actions that I wanted them to. The stress often overwhelmed me, but I still knew that I was meant to be on the team and play as much as I possibly could before heading off to college.
There will always be a special place in my heart for soccer, and I am forever grateful for the way it taught me to prove myself. It taught me that no matter how hard the situation is, the hard work and dedication will pay off in the end.
I've always had an on-and-off relationship with softball. I always loved the game and grew up with the best coaches, until I started high school. I began to play for the high school softball team, and although the group of girls was great, my coach made me question playing. He had the ability to make me feel so worthless and useless, and he always did when he had the chance.
I started to dread going to practices and always tried to think of excuses to get out of them. I was often very upset during the season because of the 6-days-a-week commitment with a coach who made it miserable for me. Even though I didn't have the ability to play during my junior year because of my surgeries, I was happy that I had an excuse to quit. I decided not to play senior year because I wanted to enjoy my last few months of high school without being constantly stressed and angry.
It is sad to say that my love and desire for softball was crushed because of an immature man who had no right to do so. I realize that there was nothing I could have done to save my relationship with the game, but that I would always have my fond memories of playing as a child. It still breaks my heart to think about how easily my passion was killed, and I've learned that I simply was not given the respect I deserved. My coach didn't teach me much about softball, but he did teach me to never treat others the way he treated me.
Snowboarding is the sport that keeps me sane. It's the only sport I've done that's individual, which is something I definitely needed. Unlike the competitive team sports that I usually enjoy, snowboarding is all about having fun with no pressure. Once I first started snowboarding, the mountain soon became my safe place. I've always been a team player, but I appreciate my alone time on the slopes.
It has taught me that not everything is a competition, and sometimes, I just need a hobby to enjoy on my own. There's nothing better than cruising down the run with all the freedom in the world.