Without The Game

Without The Game

For every senior collegiate athlete whose season is about to end or has already ended, this one's for you.

Silence is usually described as a feeling of stillness; a state of peace, a split-second of quiet, a season of serenity. It’s harmonious and soothing and usually portrayed by unruffled waters or someone sitting in tranquility. This is what silence looks and feels like to a lot of us most of the time. We long for a moment of silence in this loud and crazy world. We crave it and when it finally comes, we close our eyes and hang on tight to it, for it is ever-fleeting.

But, what if this isn’t what silence always looks like? What if there was a silence that hung around for a little while? A silence that is deafening, unwanted, and conflicted. A silence that looks more like someone struggling to stay afloat in rough waters rather than someone sitting peacefully near unruffled ones. What if silence looked like this instead? What if silence felt like this instead? What if I told you that this type of silence actually exists? Would you believe me?

Almost all elite-level athletes—college, semi-pro, or pro—experience this kind of silence. There comes a time, whether due to injury, retirement, or ineligibility, where the silence sets in. No more cheers of the crowd chanting. No more recognition for record-breaking performances.

No more noise, clamor, or commotion. Just silence -- echoes of what used to be.

Some might say that this is too drastic and dramatic; that sports are just a silly game us athletes play and that we need to get over it. But what those people might not understand is that losing the game is like losing a part of ourselves. We’ve spent most of our lives dedicated to our sport—years preparing, conditioning, competing. We’ve not only invested ourselves physically, but mentally and emotionally as well -- becoming consumed with the wins and losses, the highs and lows. It defines us in a way. Gives us purpose. Gives us an identity. It becomes our world and we become wrapped up in it. So that is why, when it’s all said and done, when the final buzzer buzzes and the last whistle blows, it’s a big loss -- probably the biggest loss in all of our athletic careers.

At this moment, we’re left to undergo some serious life re-evaluation; left asking who are we? What do we do now?

As the collegiate fall season nears an end, the first wave of senior student-athletes begins to face these questions. Less than 2 percent of collegiate athletes will go on to play pro, leaving 98 percent subject to the silence soon. Sure, there are adult leagues and beer leagues we can go on to join, but it won’t be anything like the game we played in high school or college. We’re competitors; we love the thrill of a rivalry, the pressure of a playoff game, the grind of going to practice every day, the feeling of being victorious, the locker room celebrations, the long bus rides. We live for that. And while recreational sports may still have all of that, it won’t ever have quite the same feel as it once did.

This transition is something that we rarely talk about. But, I say, if every athlete is bound to go through it at some point, why not bring it to the forefront and acknowledge it? Through sports, we have been lucky enough to create more friendships and memories than most people dream of. We have grown as people and learned more lessons from athletics than school could ever teach us. So, when that moment comes, when the clock strikes 0:00, and it’s all said and done, while inevitable sadness will strike, I’d like to offer a little bit of advice.

Take it all in. Take a look into the stands to see your family and friends who have been there to support you every step of the way – remember to be thankful. Take a look at your teammates to the left and to the right of you, and think about how these people, who have become your family, have shaped your life – remember to never let these relationships go. Take a look at playing stage, whatever it may be, one last time and replay all of the great victories and celebrations – remember to cherish those feelings of triumph. Take time to reflect on all the years you’ve played – remember to never take those years and opportunities for granted.

Finally, no matter how deafening it may be, take the time to listen to the silence, because while our sport has certainly molded us and inarguably impacted our lives, it is in no way definitive of who we are. Remember that, and more importantly, believe that. Believe that you are just as important and just as valuable to the world as you were when you played your sport. Because if there's one thing I know for sure it's that being a good person is what truly matters in this life. Who you are without the game is what matters and how good of a person you are doesn't change just because your playing days are over.

The silence will only begin to fade, once you believe that.

Cover Image Credit: Brian Schneider

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14 Times Chandler Bing Summarized A Spring Semester In The South

Who better to describe the cynicism that flavors each moment of spring semester better than Chandler Bing?

Spring semester is distinctly different from fall semester. You've got all new classes, you just got back from Christmas, and this is when the cold weather really hits. It seems to rush by really quickly, and the bright optimism with which you started fall semester morphs into a more routine feel. Especially here in the South, where snow days can throw off your ability to "get into the swing of things," here's some quotes from our favorite sarcastic "Friends" star that can describe spring semester.

1. When you start adopting the grandma lifestyle.

First semester you go to football games, events, "first" meetings. Second semester, staying in sounds like a great idea.

2. When taking online tests.

When Blackboard gives you that automatically generated score.

3. When you make dinner plans with your roommate.

Meal plans might have made me forget what a stove was if I didn't use one for classes.

4. When you forget how to meet new people.

A.k.a. that one awkward social interaction that leaves you questioning how you ever made friends.

5. When you go to your hardest class of the semester.

Well, I participated.

6. When you're honest about your workout habits.

Just a few more minutes.

7. When you're struggling with motivation for your non-major classes.

Fall semester finds you fresh and ready to learn. Spring semester, you start questioning every assignment that isn't directly relevant to your major.

8. When you start comparing yourself to others.

Welp.

9. When Alabama weather happens.

At least two pairs of pants may be merited when walking to class in sub-freezing temps.

10. When you comfort yourself as to why you're still single.

I mean, the quiz said so.

11. When you spend the majority of Sunday napping.

Sundays are for church, brunch at the caf, and naps.

12. When you're supposed to have everything figured out.

You can explain your plans to your family and friends, but whenever you have to write about it for something that matters...

13. When campus reopens after a snow day(s) and you have to do all the things.

Plus it's cold.

14. When you think about how you might actually miss this place when the semester's over.

Let's not think about that; let's just keep hoping for more

Cover Image Credit: NBC Universal

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From a College Girl in Need of a Snow Day

9 things to Ensure Classes to be Cancelled

Growing up in Delaware the weather was pretty standard: hot summers, rainy springs, colder falls, and not that snowy winters. We would be lucky if we saw a few inches a year. Occasionally there would be a huge storm roll through and we would have a foot of snow, but that's only happened maybe twice in my life. But one of the great things about living in Delaware is that no matter how much in snows, you can almost guarantee a snow day. We've had snow days for an inch of snow, and state of emergencies for 3 inches, solely because Delaware isn't equipped to handle crazy weather.

Once I moved to Michigan for college, I had some major adjusting to do. Trekking through inches of snow and ice, while it's still sleeting outside is something that I am not used to. Having to dig out my car from under blankets of snow, and going to class in negative temperatures is definitely not fun. I would do anything in my power to get a snow day in Michigan, so I'm sharing tricks that would normally help us get snow days at home. So maybe if we wish upon some snowflakes, classes will be cancelled. College kids deserve days off too right?

1. Pajamas inside out

One of the most efficient ways (in my opinion) to score a snow day is to wear your pj's inside out. My teachers used to tell me that if the whole class wore our pj's inside out, that the snowflakes would fall faster and heavier because they were upset we didn't wear our pajamas right way out.

2. Do a snow dance

Who doesn't love going outside when the snow starts falling? It's kind of like a rain dance, to make the rain come; the snow dance would tell the snow gods to make it snow harder.

3. Ice cube down the toilet

My 3rd grade teacher told me that the ice cube made the water colder which gave us a better chance for snow. Definitely an easy thing to do in the dorm, to get a snow day right?

4. Yell "snow day" into your freezer

Honestly, I don't think I ever did this one, but I know my friends did and it definitely helped get snow days in elementary school.

5. Then grab some ice cream

I may not have done the previous one, but I definitely did this. Everyone knows that if you eat ice cream when it's snowing, everything gets colder and freezes over.

6. Put a white crayon on every windowsill

Putting a crayon on every windowsill made sure that when you woke up, all that you would see in the morning would be white outside of the window.

7. Brush your teeth with the opposite hand

Pajamas backwards, brushing your teeth with the wrong hand... the snow gods just really like doing things backwards apparently.

8. Spoon under your pillow

You know, I'm not exactly sure what this one does...

9. Sleep upside down on your bed

This just goes back to the snow gods liking things happening backwards.

Everyone deserves a good snow day once in a while. I think that next time a big storm is predicted, everyone on campus has to do these 9 things, and maybe, just maybe, we won't have class. Fingers crossed.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwip0Oeb-N3YAhUqct8KHWTFBEMQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegraftonnews.com%2Farticles%2Fsnow-day%2F&psig=AOvVaw0e8Wo7gz-0GvafVeuEHtUA&ust=1516242122417267

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