Quitting: Not Always Bad?

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Quitting: Not Always Bad?

Ellie Dugan, Staff

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What’s it like to quit a sport after having played it all your life? This question is to many students uncomfortably familiar.   

Many students struggle with their decisions to quit sports due to the judgment that surrounds quitting and a dislike of sports. Athleticism has always been considered a valuable characteristic, and not playing sports sometimes makes a person seem “not cool.” 

On the other hand, sports can create conflict within people’s daily lives and schedules, piling additional stress upon participants.  They may also distract from opportunities to develop within other spheres and explore different interests. 

As students grow and change throughout high school, they often adopt different opinions and goals, and their interests may begin to align in accordance with their career paths or plans to attend a certain college.  As college begins to draw closer for high schoolers, it is imperative that they begin to make choices with the intention of benefiting themselves long-term.  For some, this could mean dropping a sport to make time for more important interests such as those involving career opportunities. 

Ultimately, athletes have to consider which is more important: status vs. stress relief, activity vs. inactivity, and rigidity vs. relaxation. It matters most that the athlete is happy and confident in their decision, regardless of whether he or she plays or not. 

Sophomore Jessica McDivitt has found her happiness in running for sport. McDivitt currently participates in CHS cross country and track and field events, which she excels at as an avid runner and a natural athlete. 

“Sometimes it’s really stressful, but other times doing sports gives more of a structure to your life,” McDivitt claimed. “I really like running and both of my sports are running sports, so yeah,” she added. 

McDivitt’s love of running served as the leading factor in her decision to quit her previous sport, soccer, and dedicate her efforts to cross-country and track.   

“I’d been playing soccer since second grade, and I started doing track—like this club thing—seventh and eighth grade.  I guess I just really liked running and I knew I wanted to do track in high school, so when I came to the high school team I think I eventually realized that I just really, really liked track [instead of soccer].  Nothing against soccer as a sport or anything, but it just wasn’t my thing.” 

McDivitt has been considerably lucky to find a sport she really loves and has been able to avoid suffering from “second-thought syndrome,” which affects others who’ve quit their high school sports. 

Sophomore Olivia Pulone could—unfortunately–consider herself one of these students. 

Pulone is a former player of both soccer and lacrosse and struggles periodically in the aftermath of her decisions to quit. Something which formerly took up such a large portion of her life has now ceased to be of importance, leaving gaping holes in Pulone’s schedule and lifestyle. 

“I don’t talk to as many people now and I miss the connections I had with my teammates.  That was fun,” Pulone said as she reminisced upon her former teams and friends.  “Just-like, having another family on the side is a lot of fun, and I kind of miss that and how I could relate to people when they talk about their sports.  I don’t know what they’re talking about anymore,” she said. 

Despite these obvious consequences to Pulone’s decision to quit sports, she also remains hopeful, claiming that her academics are on the rise as she finds more time for schoolwork and studying. 

“I’m a lot freer.  I have a lot more time and I can focus on my work.  Academics are going up, so that’s a little better I guess,” Pulone said. 

Pulone is one of many who have had second thoughts about their decisions to quit sports.  She is accompanied by many doubters of their own decisions who struggle similarly in endeavors to regulate their lifestyles. 

Like Pulone, sophomore and former player of lacrosse and field hockey Liz Perry is very conflicted about her choices to quit two sports and dedicate her efforts to swimming. 

“[Quitting] was really hard, actually.  My last [field hockey] tournament is on Saturday—ever—so that’ll be hard because that’s probably the last time I’ll ever have a stick in my hand,” said Perry. 

“I know [my coach] still really wants me to play, but there isn’t time in my schedule,” Perry continued. 

Perry is an exceptionally gifted swimmer, and her schedule is understandably jam-packed.  With frequent swim meets and practices to attend, Perry’s other sports eventually became less of a priority. 

“I’m quitting field hockey this fall so that I can focus on swimming and commit to a Division 1 level and continue my swimming career,” Perry said.  She hopes to advance in swimming while in high school and would also like to attend a university for swimming. 

As Perry’s best sport, swimming has taken the top spot on Perry’s list of priorities and she has dedicated herself wholeheartedly to it, hoping to become even more of a standout talent. 

“[Advancing in swimming] is my goal, and I’d like to take it farther [than college] if possible.  [By quitting other sports] I’ll be able to train more and become a better athlete,” she said. 

Sometimes, like Liz Perry, people must make sacrifices to advance in beneficial ways. What students who’ve quit sports should know is that they are “cool” and valuable regardless of whether they continue to play certain sports in high school.  It may take some adjustments, but anyone can adapt to a different lifestyle and learn to make the most of new circumstances. 

Liv Pulone says, “You don’t have to play sports to be cool.  It doesn’t define you.”