Quitting Sports


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Flashback to elementary school: kids are running around the playground, throwing around football, playing four square, or running laps around the track. Me? I'm napping in the grass under one of the trees. 

From a young age, I was never a very sporty person. I always "forgot" my tennis shoes when we had P.E. and faked sickness on field day to get out of competing. It wasn't so much that I was lazy as it was that I had absolutely no talent at sports. I can't even begin to describe how many coaches I frustrated with my absolute inability to remember any technique they tried to teach me.

While I may not have been a very sporty person, my dad was. As a former professional basketball player, he was really wanted his kids to have the same connection with sports that he did. 

My dad would never make me play a sport if I didn't want to, but he made me agree to at least try each sport before I decided whether or not I liked it. I agreed and played nearly every sport for one season before quitting. Our garage soon began to fill up with lightly used baseball bats, nearly spotless cleats, and half-deflated basketballs.

Discovering Exercise

Molly Gallagher

In eighth grade, after a few seasons of playing volleyball, I quit and decided to take a break from trying new sports for a while. For the first few years, it was great. I had more free time and didn't have to suffer through long, frustrating practices anymore. 

After a while though, I started to notice some of the physical consequences of my sedentary life. I had started to live after quitting sports. The asthma that I've had since I was a child started to grow worse, I struggled to go to bed at night, and I had to drink caffeine for the energy to get through the day. 

One day, I decided that I had enough of feeling so crappy and resolved to make myself a fitness routine that didn't involve playing for a sports team. I thought back to the times when I most enjoyed being active. I remembered how much I loved taking hikes with my dad, the euphoria after a long run, and the excitement of climbing rock walls.

I started incorporating these things into my weekly routine and day by day I started to notice changes. I felt more awake during the day, I started to sleep better, and I was even encouraged to start eating healthier to better fuel my body.  

What's better yet, is as I started to workout more and gain confidence, I started exploring new forms of exercise. I went to my first yoga class, I started lifting weights in the gym, and even starting kickboxing. I fell in love with the feeling of working out and discovering the strength that I never knew that I had. 

I am so happy that I made the decision to quit sports because my fitness journey has brought me to amazing places, introduced me to people I would never have met, and helped to boost my self-confidence beyond what I thought possible. 

I am sharing my story in the hopes that other people who grew up wanting to quit their sports teams will stay open to finding another form exercise that they really love. I've learned from experience that the world of fitness extends far behind the team sports that they teach you in elementary school and that there's an endless variety of ways you can stay in shape. It's all about finding the kind of lifestyle that gives you joy.