Eat. Sleep. Basketball. Repeat?

Sarah Boeke, Staff Writer

After careful consideration, Sarah decides to quit basketball. She is now able to pursue other passions such as track and field. Photo by Haley Sandlow

Basketball: a sport I had been playing since my teammates and I were just little bundles of energy tripping around the court with little regard for the actual baskets.

At first, I fell in love with basketball’s competitive nature. The physical and mental challenges that came with each game and practice kept me on my toes. However, as I passed through years of participating in both school and travel teams, the game began to lose its luster. My original motivation to go to practice every day faded into an act of pure willpower to maintain effort for the full two hours of drills and conditioning. I felt trapped, fearing the consequences of dropping the ball on the sport I had dedicated so much time to.

I decided to quit for a few reasons. Whenever I thought back to my previous seasons I immediately thought of practices as a low point of my day instead of something I looked forward to. I was tired of having the obligation to an activity that brought me no joy.

While on the team, I overheard countless teammates expressing the same sentiments. Yet, only two other girls quit the team along with me. When I asked friends why they continued to play, they told me they “just needed to play a sport.”

Students feel pressured to stick with a sport because they feel the need to see their commitment through. This is not limited to sports, as clubs and other activities are also seen as surefire ways of showing leadership and commitment on a college application. Ultimately, students tend to stay tethered to a sport, club or activity even while suffering and complaining throughout the year, counting down the days to their final practices or meetings.

Yes, it’s an amazing accomplishment to be named a “12-season athlete.” And yes, it’s incredibly impressive to participate on Class Board for all four years of high school. The problem begins when these commitments get in the way of your happiness or your ability to pursue your true passions.

I considered the decision to drop basketball for a very long time, reluctant to leave the sport I had been committed to since the second grade. Still, I was confident in my choice to quit. I looked forward to the empty space in my winter schedule which, this year,  I have used to focus on schoolwork, start a fitness club, join track and get involved with volunteering.

That being said, it’s important to recognize the difference between experiencing a plateau and knowing when your heart’s no longer in the game. If you genuinely enjoy your activity but are frustrated by a lack of improvement, you shouldn’t immediately drop everything. However, when you know there are a million other things you would rather be doing with your time, you should consider whether your participation is really worthwhile.

When I quit basketball, I thought the sky would fall, my coach would shun me and my teammates would cease to associate with me. None of this happened. When all is said and done, a game is a game. This choice will not dictate the rest of your life. Take the opportunity to explore your interests, and you might even find a new passion in the process.