Quitting A Sport You Love

When you first start playing the game, you never think about the end. The end is only the end of the season. When it comes, you just start training again for the next season to improve your skills, abilities, and speed. You think about the next game or when the final buzzer sounds when you can finally get water and celebrate a win. As a player, you do not think about clock running out and walking off the field for the last time in your life. That next game will never come, your jersey will never be worn again, and your cleats will get hung up.

As an athlete, quitting is frowned upon. It is seen as giving up. However, when I was faced with the decision to quit a sport I played for over twelve years, it was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. I had to weigh the advantages and the disadvantages of playing. After several nights of thinking, my decision was right in front of me- quitting was the best option for me at that time.

I never knew my last game was my last game. I never knew that the last time I scored would be my last goal ever. A lot of little accomplishments I overlooked while playing, I appreciated after I quit. I would give anything to lace up my cleats, put my jersey on, and go on the field and play. However, that is not reality. I am an ex-athlete but I am lucky. Even though I am not a player I still am involved in the game. I am able to officiate games and coach younger players.

After you quit, watching the game is extremely hard. You want to pick up where you left off and jump right in and play. You are now a fan not a player, so you want to cheer on your friends and old teammates and watch them succeed.  The teammates you once had, you do not see as often. You do not have the two hours of more every day where you see each other, joke around, and watch each other grow as players.

Quitting is not something that comes easily to any athlete. It is a tough decision. Most likely, one of the most difficult decisions they will face. When the words come out, “I quit,” it stings every time even years later. Playing a sport, especially in college is a job. Every player puts their time, all their energy, and heart into every game and every practice. Athletes are overlooked with everything they are faced with and have to juggle. Every player must do what is right for him or her and sometimes quitting is the best option. So yes I am now a NARP. I have to workout on my own, and playing the sport is now just a bunch of memories that will be cherished forever.