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Why I’m Okay With Quiting the Volleyball Team

I believe it was my dad who once told me, “to be an athlete means to always be injured.” Coming from someone who has been a professional volleyball and soccer player in Europe, it seemed like some pretty sound wisdom. Injuries suck, and here’s why. It’s sad to hear about an athlete’s season ending injury. It’s very revealing of the type of athlete they are if they try to get back to their previous level of play. For a good part of their lives, they put in the muscle power and emotional energy to become the athlete they worked all that time to be. They could have played so long without an injury that getting hurt just escapes within the realm of possibilities. Until the moment their knee gives out on the court or their hips can’t take the pounding on the bones that comes with running, the athletic career that they’ve so patiently been working on sweeps them from under their feet. Their life’s work has been shattered and the athlete is left to pick up the pieces.

 

That is what happened to me, but not so dramatically. I tore my acl for the second time this past volleyball season, and since then I have promised myself that I would not play volleyball again. Before my first acl injury, I was not one to get injured. NOT EVEN A SPRAINED ANKLE. Coming back from a 9 month recovery my freshman year of college, I limped into season on a badly sprained ankle from playing tennis the previous day, and three weeks in, I tore my acl a second time.

 

That was a lot for me to take in. There was so much I was looking forward to accomplishing on the team and games to travel to, but everything was put on hold. Plus, the moment I reached for my knee after I collapsed on the court, I knew I had done it again. (Cue Oops I did it again by Britney Spears for a quick 5 min relief from sad stuff). It took two weeks to get back the mri for the results, but I was already preparing how I was going to break it to my coach and team that I was going to take a permanent break from volleyball.

 

After all the tears and stress spent on the decision, I quickly found the few benefits that come with retiring from a team. And if you’re struggling with the same stuff, here’s what you should look forward to as you step into your new “nonner” life:

 

  1. If you got close to your teammates, you still have a friend group you can support at the games, and they will want to spend time with you more now that you don’t see each other during practice and lift.

  2. Everyone at the games are going to want to sit next to you because you can give them the inside scoop on what goes on in practices and if the players are performing up to their usual standards. (Your friends on the bench will love this).

  3. Your schedule has three hours in the afternoon free, convincing your mind that you suddenly have more time in the world than beyoncé.

  4. More time means new friends and new activities! Branch out of your comfort zone and explore what else is there outside the world of your sport, who knows, maybe you’ll pick up a something that you never knew you were gifted at.

  5. More time also means more opportunities to be productive! Now is the time to get that resume updated and that summer internship initiated! It never hurts to have more time to study, either:)

  6. If you’re nice to Coach, she or he might let you travel with the team and watch them play on the bench. After all, you did sacrifice your knee of hips for the sake of the team;)

  7. Oh yeah, baths are totally an option now. Before, showers were the only things you could squeeze into your schedule. Now, order some soaps off of lush’s website and plop one in the tub to get a quick meditation session in there, cuz you deserve it girl!

Nica is a Senior at Williams College majoring in Biology and taking pre-medical courses. She is a member of Ritmo Latino and GQ A cappella. Her passions include public health, reading, and yoga.
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