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Not Playing Sports in College, A New Way of Life

Grove City Women’s Tennis Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Jackson

During my last tennis match at Grove City, my strings broke and I used my coach’s racquet. The heavy feeling of a new object threw me off. I lost the exhibition match, ending my career in a let down.

Let me just say, this is no bashing of playing college sports. Playing varsity tennis taught me much. I learned time management, team development, and how to lead a team to play for the glory of God. I learned self-discipline both physically and mentally. And I learned that sports will always play a role in my life. I proudly look forward to future days as a soccer mom.

For 14 years straight I played team sports including soccer, basketball and tennis. When I made the decision to quit varsity tennis at Grove City, I stepped into unknown waters. What was life without daily practices, working out with the motivation of adding to my team, and proudly wearing my uniform to class on match days?

So, why did I leave behind these experiences? A shoulder injury definitely played a part. I tore my labrum and needed surgery, which I had the spring of my junior year. Talk about going from an athlete to a couch potato.

Time can only be used in so many ways before it is gone. Two to three hours a day of practice and two- to seven-hour matches during the week and on weekends filled my waking hours. Homework and some time with friends filled the rest. I realized that though I loved my team, competing and being in shape, I wanted to use my college experience to pursue other opportunities. One of my passions is writing, and after quitting tennis, I devoted much more time to improving my skills.

I am avidly pursuing a career in journalism. I accepted a job with the college newspaper and am now the managing editor until I graduate in December. As I move on from college, I have an internship with World Magazine, an answer to prayer and I am so excited.

Though I miss the accountability of being on a team, I know I made the best decision. Not only could I spend time interviewing and writing people’s stories, but I learned to enjoy assignments, freely attend evening lectures, and simply enjoy being surrounded by friends on this beautiful campus.

If you are a high school student deciding whether or not to play a varsity college sport, let me help you – There is no wrong answer. I split my college career of playing sports and not, and I am glad I got to dip my toes into two very different worlds. Though there is no wrong option, some are better than others. Keep in mind the time you spend at college cannot be duplicated.

Also know that our intramural (IM) sports program here at Grove City is nothing to joke about. IM soccer, volleyball, badminton, tennis, basketball, ping pong, and even flag football have all filled my four years. Though varsity sports may not be for you, alternatives abound. Do not fear when you no longer devote each moment to bettering your body and your team. Life after college is filled with marriage, jobs, travel – but the chance to play on a varsity team may not carry over. However, each of those other activities can be bettered during the formative four years of college.

Make time to enjoy God’s creation, watch a movie with your roommate, listen to a talk from a renowned guest speaker, play some IM sports and maybe go for a run. Each human consists of mind, body and soul. Each can be nourished by the choices we make. And no matter which choice you make about varsity sports in college, you will find your place.

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