The word ‘quit’ has a negative connotation. You quit a job: clearly you weren’t very good at it. You quit a sport: you were a failure.
With the recent events in college athletics, I feel called to share my story. The mental health epidemic raging in the collegiate athletic setting is something that NEEDS to be talked about AND changed. How many tragedies are going to occur before we look at the root issues?
I’ve dipped into my college athletic story here but I have never really dove in. I’ve played softball my whole life. I accomplished my dream of committing to play collegiate athletics at a high-level on a scholarship. Things were great. Things were hopeful. Until I got here.
Quickly I learned the stressors of collegiate athletics. I learned just how low my mental health could go. Being a college athlete is so glamorized. However, I spent many of my days crying. I had anxiety from morning to night. Waking up every day was a chore. I told myself to stick through it, and push through it. Because that’s what athletes do right? You push your limits, not just in sports but in life. This mentality can quite literally ruin someone. It can send someone to their lowest of lows.
Fast-forward to now and I’m no longer a college athlete. I found the strength to quit. It was quite literally the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I knew it was the best option for me and my mental health and had to be done.
What about people who can’t find their solutions? Use this as a sign that changes need to be made in collegiate athletics. Provide the resources. Talk about it. Bring light to every day stressors that college athletes face. And yes, quitting IS an option. It doesn’t make you a failure and it doesn’t make you any less of a person.
Athletes, I’d advise you to get your programs involved in @thehiddenopponent and @morgansmessage Small steps can make big changes.
Please check in on a loved one, friend, or even a stranger today. You have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes. I express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the athletes lives taken way too soon.