Friday September 30, 2016

Big Changes: Retiring from Athletics

      It's my senior year of high school, and I'm eager to finally bring my college search to a close. This school named the University of Dayton, who apparently everybody there loves, just so happens to be at the top of my list. Once I finally got around to visiting the campus, it was an experience that I never thought I would get from going to university. They had everything that I wanted in a school and I was so excited to continue my academic career there. I had a lot of goals for myself that I wanted to achieve that would allow me to get the degree that I have always dreamed of. 

     At the time I was a top performer on my Track and Field, in fact, I was the 8th fastest 100m sprinter in the entire state of Ohio. Despite my decent performance, I had not actually planned to continue my athletic career at a University, let alone a Division I institution. After breaking the news to my high school coach, he seemed to convince me to continue to exercise my talents at the next level. He was able to contact the UD Track and Field Coach, and before I knew it, I was offered a spot on the team based on my ability. I was grateful for the opportunity and did not want to let anyone down. Besides, I had not known a life outside of athletics for the longest time, and it was comforting to know that I could carry something with me into the next chapter of my life. 

     Fast forward a year later, the beginning of my sophomore year, and I'm sitting in my new coach's office telling her that I had mad the decision to leave the team; not only for myself but for the benefit of my teammates.

If there was one word to describe the biggest motive for my decision, it would be TIRED. 

     The athletic community here at the University of Dayton is amazing, and the amount of support that athletes are given is incredible, in fact, I am sure it tops other major Division I institutions in the sense that academics, is truly put first. But I wanted MORE. I had spent so much time regretting that I couldn't really get involved in other campus events or put as much time into my studies as I would have hoped. To me, missing classes and not getting enough sleep just wasn't as normal-feeling as it used to be. I was ready for a change, a fresh start, and to take my academics more seriously than ever before. I actually thought about my choice the entire summer. I'm talking about from the beginning of the summer, until the first day of move-in this year. I have always been a team player, and I know how it feels to be on a team when not everyone is giving 100% and when they do not want to be there. I did not want to put my teammates through that this year, so I moved forward with my decision.

Many times I tell people and they gasp in shock/horror, "Oh my goodness, are you Okay? What's wrong?" but it is not like that at all. 

     I am better than I have been since coming to college, and I think of this situation as far from negative. This was a blessing, this was a discernment process both personal and spiritual, and I know that this is God opening up another door for me.

     We use the word "Community" here a lot at UD, and before I did not get many opportunities to feel that for myself. Instead, I just felt like I was just spreading the word. I feel free and I feel overwhelmingly motivated to have a great year. I have more time to get involved with clubs, attend events, learn about the culture, and connect with my community, and now I truly FEEL what the word Community means here. 

I don't feel like I lost anything, I feel like I gained another piece to the puzzle of self-growth and feeling of belonging. 

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