As the season of fall sports winds to a close, I’ve begun to reflect on my experiences as a freshman entering the college sports world. For anyone interested in doing this I would definitely recommend it.
I can remember the first day of tryouts quite vividly. I was so nervous, and being a walk on (a player who wasn’t recruited) I certainly had to prove myself not only to the coaches but to the other players as well. Being away from home for the first time and not knowing anyone didn’t help with the nerves either. I was virtually alone. I was tested both physically and mentally, in ways I had never been tested before. Needless to say it was the most grueling week of my life.
It’s amazing to me how different the college tryout experience is from high school. In my high school, I knew my competition. I knew their strengths, weaknesses, and I was friends with most of them. We helped each other train and prepare for the season over the summer, and we could all pick each other up if one of us was struggling. In college, it is almost a dog-eat-dog world; every player for themselves so to speak. In our school fourteen freshmen tried out, so the competition was indeed elevated. And, since it was college level, everyone was talented enough to make the team. In a time where nothing is certain, one must ease their anxieties somehow. We look for the weaker players. We try to reason with our own conscience to see how likely our chances will be. I was not even able to do this. Every girl was skilled, and I began to doubt my own skill because of it.
Looking back I don’t know how I persevered through all the obstacles I faced along the way, but I’m so glad I did, because it has been a journey I will never forget. I never realized that back home I had become a big fish in a small pond. Now that I’m in a bigger pond, I have much more room to grow and learn and experience. Even though things were easier at home, staying would have suppressed my true potential.
For those of you considering sports in college please don’t let the fact that it will be hard prevent you from trying it. I myself was threatened by the mere thought of playing on a college team, and it took me a long time to realize that by not trying out, I would be doing a disservice to myself. It would be something that I would regret for a long time. If you have a passion in life, you shouldn’t give up on it because you’re scared or unsure. You suffer and sacrifice for it, because it’s what you love. Despite all the struggle I went through, I was pushed farther than I thought I could have ever gone. I’m going to continue pushing myself, because if I don’t, I’ll never know how far I can reach.
College soccer for me wasn’t just a hobby, or a place to meet new people. It taught me a lot about myself; my strength, my courage, my determination, and my limits. If you’re lucky enough to find something that truly tests you and brings out the very best in you, take full advantage of it. In the end, you will be a better person for it.