Not to say I can't do any of these things- but as an athlete that is your identity, one that you're ever really able to shake off. My LinkedIn head-shot is my Volleyball Roster picture, and my resume consists of about 100 synonyms for excelling with time management skills, working in a team, and leading others, and my e-mail address I signed up for this with (email@example.com) is the one I used while being recruited in high school since my UNC e-mail address has been deactivated. All my relationships in life have a direct correlation with the number of times we've changed and showered in front of each other in a lockerroom, and almost none of these friends were selected by choice- rather through tryouts or recruitment.
No problem, this is what I know, and writing about volleyball is then the easy choice. I was athletically talented enough to win a national championship in high school, receive a scholarship to play in college, and get recruited by my work league upon graduation. However my previous few months coaching a team that went 1-49 made me question my abilities like never before, and also remind me the absolute love-hate relationship I have with the sport. As the only blogs I know are on Barstool, and all the ones I read have lists- here's mine..
3 Ways You Know You Are a Real Retired Athlete
1. You hate the sport. Sometimes.You kind of hated it while you were playing it, and now you curse it whenever you drop something and your knee (back, shoulder, ankle) almost gives out. You've hated coaches, and loved coaches, but if you ever 100% loved the sport you play you either are playing Park District or you are lying.
2. You have no friends. Always. So these friends that you had everyday, in the trenches, always had your back. If you decided to cancel dinner plans you would see them at study hours later, weights the next morning, or when they returned from dinner since you live with them. Now you have to make friends in a world that there are no tryout, recruitment, or reason to be friends with you. I know what you may be thinking, the reason I have no friends is because I send off very intimidating vibes... Here I will not argue with you and just nod in agreement that this is another causation of being a real athlete at one time.
3. You know true emotion. You definitely know pain. Not just your back/knee/shoulder pain. The pain of losing, the pain of not starting, and the pain of ending a sport that has been such a big part of your life. With pain comes the feelings of insanity. Waking up early, going to bed late, to put yourself through a torture you question yourself regularly on, yet continue to do it anyway. Most importantly you know competing- and this is the emotion that stays with you post-athletic career which eats at your soul. Whether you are playing scrabble with Aunt Cheryl or beer pong on the weekends- you must win.
This constant need to define your successes in black and white is the upward climb all athletes face. We lost our identity, and our easy way that we measure good and bad in wins and losses and find other ways to define these feelings. Whether it is finishing my personal pint of Ben & Jerry's in under 5 minutes, getting the raise at work before my colleagues, or beating the traffic home from work- I find new ways to attempt to create my happiness- and I'm not nearly as good at these things as I was at volleyball.