In a time not so long ago, I was a student athlete, who complained about being a student athlete, but loved it all at the same time. Of course there were ups and downs like any relationship, but had I known how much I would truly miss it, I may have appreciated it more in the moment. Like all great things, my time as a student athlete was limited and it has since come to an end, but that doesn't mean that I don't think about the many lessons it taught me everyday.
Meeting people through sports is the biggest take away that I have experienced. You immediately have something in common with your teammates and these relationships can be the start of lifelong friendships more often than not. The majority of teams are extremely diverse in many ways and this only creates a more positive and influential environment. Working with such passionate and competitively driven peers pushes you in ways that you cannot experience otherwise. So thank you, to my teammates-and life long friends-whether we met when we were eight or seventeen, you will always have a special place in my heart.
My childhood sport taught me the importance of self discipline. Pushing yourself and growing as an athlete is the most rewarding feeling. What you do on your own time and commitment can benefit the greater outcome of the overall team. This is a great deal of pressure but also an extremely important life lesson. Whatever you want in life, must be worked at and perfected by a process; the process of developing your own beliefs and set skills can be established through sports.
Regardless of my age, I will never forget the way it felt to get nervous before a big game. The way that everything seems to slow down and speed up all at the same time. The way that my teammates and I would talk before kick off and give each other the support we all needed beforehand. Regardless of the score at the final whistle, the amount of blood, sweat and tears that were shared as a team was the ultimate trophy. As long as we left it all on the field, I was happy with the outcome. Like everything in life, you cannot always win.
A personal thank you to the coaches, players and friends who helped shape me into who I am today will never be enough. I carry with me everyday the lessons I learned through one of my deepest passions. Although my time as a student athlete has come to an end, I will always be grateful to have had soccer. I will always be grateful to have met the people that soccer introduced me to. I will always look back on my days on the field and return full circle to the many, many times I participated in games and tournaments. Play each game as if it is your last if you are fortunate enough to still have your time on the field. The outcome is never the take away; ten years from now, you will remember more of the little moments than the final scoreboard.