Why I quit sports

~Emma Dixon, News Editor~

Throughout all of middle school and the beginning of high school, I was a jock. I played any sport you could think of: volleyball, basketball, soccer and softball.

Although I played all of these, softball was the main sport I excelled at. I began playing when I was a young child, maybe five or six years old.

From the moment I stepped onto the diamond, it was evident I had a natural talent for softball. My first game ever, I made a triple play at shortstop without even knowing the rules of the game. 

During that same game, it also became evident I had a natural talent for competitiveness. When a girl was running toward home plate to score, and I could not catch her to tag her out, I pegged the softball square into her back.

Obviously, she was not called out because that is against the rules. From that moment forward, there was something every game that brought out the overly-competitive side of me.

At such a young age, everyone, including myself, just figured it was a phase. Everyone assumed after a few years I would mellow out and become less competitive. 

They, and I, were sadly mistaken. 

Even into my high school years, I would get upset or throw a temper tantrum at least once every game. There was one time I took of my helmet and threw it across the field during a rage. 

The umpire purposely turned away and pretended he did not see it so he would not have to eject me.

Although I did get slightly less competitive as time went on and I grew older, I would still end up angry or upset after every game I played in. Even if my team won, I would still manage to get upset somehow. 

I could play an amazing game behind the plate as catcher, tagging people out a home, throwing people trying to steal bases out, blocking wild pitches, and I would still get angry even if I let a single ball get by me.

No matter how great I played, my competitive side always got the best of me. I always got caught up in my own head whenever the slightest thing went wrong.

Eventually, when I reached high school and became captain of the team my sophomore year, I began to realize that I was not actually enjoying myself when I was playing softball. I was always getting so angry or crying that I was not having any fun. 

I was playing the game simply because I was good at it, not because I had a love for the sport.

Ultimately, I decided to quit playing softball and competitive sports. It was certainly a hard decision for me to make. 

Softball had been such a huge part of my life for over 10 years that it had become part of my identity. Not everyone is as competitive as I am, and I am not trying to argue that team sports are bad in any way. 

In fact, team sports shaped me into who I am today. 

Teams sports taught me how to handle my competitiveness in productive ways. Now, I use my competitiveness to push myself harder in school and multiple other aspects of my life. 

I had coaches who helped me find ways that I can harness my anger and use it to push myself to do better.

The biggest lesson team sports taught me was that, sometimes, walking away from something that is important to us is the only way to help us grow and learn. 

Even though I enjoyed softball and made countless friends throughout the years, walking away was the best decision for me. 

If I had not quit softball, I would have continued to do something that did not make me genuinely happy.

Overall, I am happy with my decision to quit softball. If I had never quit softball, I never would have become a journalist. 

After I quit softball, I had more time to try hobbies of mine, like cinematography and writing, that I was actually passionate about, enjoyed and want to pursue as a career.

Like I said earlier, it was hard to quit softball; it was not an easy decision. But at the end of the day, it taught me that, although walking away from something you love is hard, you can find other things that make you just as happy, if not happier.

Team sports are good for a lot of reasons; they build friendships, they are a great source of exercise and can potentially turn into lifetime careers. 

But for me, the most important thing teams sports does is build character and teach people how to handle their emotions. 

They help teach us lessons that we can use in our everyday lives.

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