As an 8th grader in middle school I was happy nearly all the time, and made very fond memories in my free time. I was looking forward to the “high school experience”. I signed up for a sport for my 9th grade year because it seemed like another fun way to make friends and I was also a very competitive person. Little did I know what I had signed up for would bring me immense happiness, pain, joy, sadness, and even depression. This sport was unlike any other sport. I had been accustomed to playing competitively 5 years prior. Not only was this a sport I never competed in, but it was also the most time committing, competitive, and most mentally and physically demanding. It soon became my life. I was driven to succeed so I dove head first. I showed up to all the, “optional” practices, and put in extra work at home. I quickly saw myself improve compared to others who joined with me, but compared to my experienced teammates I was still a lowly beginner. I compared myself to the best on my team and this began to eat at me as I felt I had plateaued and was no longer improving. Even after finding myself practicing from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. then staying for the optional practice another 4 hours and doing this 6 days a week. I still felt I was not good enough. I did this throughout my summer and I was okay with it because I was having fun. Then school came around. I would attend from 7:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. and then practice from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. This was also fine but this schedule was only for the first 3 months of the school year. The later half I would attend school and usually end somewhere ranging from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. with the occasional end around 12:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. I still had a love for the sport and most importantly the people, but that was because I kind of had to since I began spending more time at the high school with this team than I did with family at home. I would finish the 11 month season and return for tryouts 2 weeks later to start again. I got through the summer and I was going harder than I did the year prior attending practice from 5:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. I began to miss my summer, my family time and the old friends I had lost due to not having much free time to hang out with them. But, i still loved the sport. After my 2nd season, I am reluctant to come back but eventually did. I got through another long summer. At the beginning of the school year, I felt like I wanted to quit. I talked to family and they said “do what will make you happy.” My parents have invested so much money into to this sport for me even when money is tight. I cannot help but feel sorry if I do quit. I will also feel terrible for my team if I quit because I am looked at as a leader now. All of the time I have invested has left me with few friends. I haven’t experienced anything else since my 8th grade school year 3 years ago. So, I decided to continue for another 2 months. Here I am now, tired, stressed from the weight of school, and sports, constrained from lack of freedom to do anything, and depressed because the thing that used to bring me joy now brings me pain and sadness and feels like a job I do not want to wake up to go to. I now want to pursue other hobbies that relieve my stress and bring happiness, but I cannot because I have no time. I want to quit but I feel my teammates who I now call “my 2nd family” will reject me. I wake up and think, “I cannot wait until the day is over so I can have my free-time.” Lately, I’ve been getting home around 10:00 p.m. and then eating, showering etc. and then having time for myself from 12:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. then squeezing work in there. I am beginning to fall behind on grades because of this sport and having constant arguments at home due to my moodiness from lack of sleep and unhappiness. I am both physically and mentally burned out and want to quit but I am scared. I feel the need to just run. I don’t know what to do.
- Great job on reaching out for some support. It is important to always acknowledge your feelings and emotions.
- Being honest with yourself is the best thing you can do to protect any future feelings or emotions in this situation and going forward
- You are capable of controlling your everyday routine even if it consists of incorporating a different activity.
- It was a good idea that you let your parents know how you are feeling about this situation because they responded in a supportive manner. “do what will make you happy”
- Perhaps you can cut back the amount of time you spend at this sport that you love. Remember, moderation in everything is critical to one’s happiness.
- Weigh the pros and cons of cutting back on this sport to see what direction may be best for you.
- What other activities have you considered doing instead?
- What are the pros and cons of quitting the sport and continuing it?
- What are some ways your teammates are managing school, homework and sports?
- How would you advise a friend that came to you with this problem?
- How do you feel about moderation?