Friday, February 10, 2012

Up Against The Current

One year ago, I quit the field hockey program at SLU. I would say that this decision is the biggest decision I have ever made. I would even go so far as to say that the person I am today is a direct result of that decision. 

It was like it was yesterday. I can still remember walking (on crutches at this point) into the arena alone to talk with my head coach and a couple of administrators. We had spent about a month going back and forth on some disagreements regarding the direction that the program was heading. That day, I finally chose to “agree to disagree” and part ways with the program. I simply told them I was leaving, signed a few papers, and walked out. It took a total of 10 minutes. 10 minutes was all it took to walk away from a love I had spent years trying to perfect. Although it should’ve been a really depressing day, I remember feeling completely liberated and excited.

Don’t tell my dad this because he’ll kill me… but I had to go to class right after the meeting. I drove my car to the building the class was located in and parked Iight outside. While I was so busy calling everyone that I knew to give them the news, I left the keys in the ignition. I came out of class an hour later, frantically looking for my keys, when I realized I had a 'blonde moment' and left the car unlocked, running on Lindell Blvd the entire time. It was still there, thank God or I might not be alive today. I just remember getting in my car and laughing to myself for probably a good five minutes (which when you’re alone, is actually a very long time.) This was honestly the first day of the life I have today.

Last year, you would not have even recognized me. Everything that I did in college revolved around that field hockey team. I hardly ever went out because of the team rules. I never joined a club because I didn’t have time. I’ve never tried recreational drugs because of drug testing (not that I necessarily want to, but on principle it’s one of those “everyone is doing it” kind of things that I never got to do). I don’t want to say I was robbed of a college experience because what I went through and the lessons I learned are far more valuable than a college experience. Nevertheless, I do think I missed out on things. I could write a book about all of the horrifying experiences I had as a collegiate athlete. I don’t even like watching scary movies because it reminds me of the crap I went through. Although the best writers in Hollywood couldn't come close to doing the experience justice. Reality was much worse than anything you could find on the big screen. Despite all the horrors and insanities, my decision came down to the fact that no one really cared as much as I did. Even my teammates; after the class above me graduated, there was no sense of passion left. The school didn’t care. The administration didn’t care. My coach didn’t care. They didn’t care about the program, the team, or the players and they certainly didn’t seem to care about whether or not we were successful. I cared though, probably a little too much. My whole world revolved around it all. In the end, I realized I was just swimming up against a very strong current that would no doubt take me under unless I chose to get to shore and put my feet on solid ground.

This idea of caring too much is crazy. I guess it’s a bit of a gift and a curse. Sometimes, I set myself up for disappointments and failures. Sometimes I feel so strongly about something that it clouds my judgment, and I make mistakes. But when I care and when I have passion for something, it is the most incredible feeling in the world. Since I quit field hockey, I haven’t really found that something that I can truly be passionate about. I love coaching the sport, don’t get me wrong, but it just isn’t the same. I think that during this past year, I’ve spent so much time trying to make up for lost time that I forgot to focus on finding something new to care about. So I’m going to take the advice that I would give anyone in my position, and “get a hobby"- something I hope that will allow me to float a bit easier down stream.

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