Moving On To Better Things

Moving+On+To+Better+Things

Caroline Saunders, Staff Writer

Zyhir Hope (‘23) has been playing basketball since he was four and after a tough start to his junior year, he decided to take a break to focus on family and baseball. Even though he still has a love for the sport, it just doesn’t fit him right now. 

Athletes will go through their career loving the sport they play and one day get an injury, or not be able to continue playing. Zyhir struggled with some classes in the first semester and was not able to play for a while due to his grades. He got the help he needed but by that time it was too late, and he had decided it wasn’t worth continuing. 

“I worked on myself and improved my grades but after all, I didn’t want to continue,” Hope said. 

In high school,  there’s a lot of external pressure. Whether it’s from parents, teachers, coaches, bosses, or friends; students don’t get the credit they deserve from being under stress and juggling lots of extra things inside and outside of the school building. In 2019, the National Youth Sport sent out a survey,  where parents were asked what source their child gets pressure from, and most of them said that it was from the coaches. (3.37 average) 

If a student-athlete is taking challenging classes but also working very hard to make a certain team they sometimes forget about their priorities. Students get so invested in one thing that they will lose track of other things that are just as important. Sometimes, something has to give, and students are faced with letting someone down. 

“My parents weren’t happy at all. I tried to tell my parents that I wanted to focus on my grades but my mom still wants me to play. I just don’t feel that football is the sport for me,” Donovan Bailey (‘24) said.

Beyond parental pressure, there’s a social cost to the choice of leaving a team and a sport you’ve been a part of for years. You could lose the friends you had growing up, but you will also make new friends as well.

“I did lose a lot of the friends I had on my basketball team because I just wasn’t hanging out with them as much as I was with my baseball friends because of practice,” Hope said.

Time and effort play a big role in anything anyone does in life. From playing in high school to playing professionally, the amount of effort you need to put in varies. For some athletes, it’s the lack of return on investment that makes them quit. It’s tough to go out for a sport year after year and never make it past JV or never leave the bench. 

“I was getting a lot of practice out of the team but I didn’t get much playing time and I would rather go to a team where I would play more and get experience,” Bryana Molina (‘24)  former volleyball player said. 

When athletes are deciding to quit a sport they need support more than anything. If they don’t have the support that might affect their future. They may think what they decided was wrong and be scared to leave or quit anything again. They will think they need to keep doing it because of how much pressure everyone puts on them. 

“I just really needed the support from my friends and family when I quit because I felt like I let my team and everyone down by not playing volleyball anymore even though I wanted to focus on making my grades better,” Molina said. 

The emotional impact this has on students is really strong. Sometimes they will find help and sometimes they won’t because they think no one realizes or cares. Students know they can reach out to their teachers, family, or anyone else but they don’t feel welcome to. Many times they feel as if they will get in trouble or disappoint people when they say the truth. 

“If we need help, we don’t get it, like it makes getting help harder. And if we are stressed or hurting, we don’t get the attention to help our stress because no one notices,” Aiden Garrison (‘23) said.

According to the National Youth Sports Survey, the average kid spends 3 or fewer years playing a certain sport. Parents hope for their kids to get healthy, and make friends which were rated about a 4 on a 1-5 scale. The main reason they said, was to have fun which was the leading reason at a 4.49. Parents think they are having fun when kids just want to please their parents. 

¨I really was having fun for the most part in the beginning. After a while I started struggling in classes and juggling classes and sports just wasn’t fun for me anymore but I didn’t know how to tell my parents,¨ Molina said.

Giving up what you’re used to and what feels comfortable to you can cause some major changes and pushes you to step out of your comfort zone. This can bring new challenges that cause change and growth in your life. Many people are good at many different things but are also good at things they never realized they would be good at. When you give yourself a chance to view your strengths from a different perspective that opens a whole new world of possibilities. 

“When I quit, I started focusing on school and grades more and joined the National Honor Society (which I never thought I would want to join but it was really fun),” Molina said. 

With these new clubs or teams comes meeting new people and sometimes surprising new friendships. For Zyhir, leaving her basketball team was tough but new friends made it easier. 

“I did gain new friends on my team here even though it was hard to lose my old ones, but my new friends feel like family to me,” Hope said.