Post Career Blues
Post career blues is a real thing, and it hits hard. I think selfishly I chose strength and conditioning so I could continue to live vicariously through the athletes and help them succeed at the same time. I want to stay involved with sport and training as long as possible because it allows me to hold onto that identity as an athlete just a little bit longer ...
I have played basketball since I was about 8 years old. At first I hated it because I was playing on a team with girls that were three years older than me, and my coach at the time (SHOUT-OUT TO VIC JUZENAS) made us do these things called "ironman suicides" - I'll let you use your imagination for that one. Once I figured out that I was going to die from running sprints, I started to enjoy myself a little bit more. The following year, a switch flipped and I was hooked - there was no looking back from that point on. My brothers had their football, and I had my basketball.
Sport empowered me from a young age. Truthfully, a lot of my confidence as a young girl stemmed from sport (and my mom). It comes at no surprise that I had weight issues growing up which I have touched on in a previous post, but when I was playing those insecurities vanished. No bullies, no comments, no mirrors; nothing was going to stand in my way. Every sport I played gave me that release, I just happened to be a little bit better at shooting a ball than kicking one.
The attachment we feel to sport is strong, but often we don't realize it until its "gone". When I say gone, I mean organized sport. I know there is always a basketball for me to play with and a hoop for me to shoot on, but not necessarily on a court with teammates, score clocks, refs, and rules. After my sports career at Laurier came to a close, I felt a pit in my stomach, one that truthfully has never really went away. I find other ways now to physically challenge myself, but I reminisce on my "glory days" more often than I'd like to admit, but hey - I don't think that's something to apologize for.
I often feel that same pit in my stomach when I watch another athlete's season come to an end. This past year I experienced it with my boyfriend, Ryan. Watching what I hoped would not be his last game against the Western Mustangs in CIS hockey, I had butterflies the whole time. As the seconds started to tick down and the buzzer went, my stomach felt empty for him because I too lost to Western in the Quarter Finals of my fourth year. A feeling only athletes can relate to.
Life after sport has still been fun and challenging, there are still things that get me excited like game day once got me excited, but I don't know if it will ever really be the same. Yes, I am totally being dramatic right now, but I think you can all agree with me to some extent. Our sport is always a part of us - it has shaped us and taught us important life lessons.
My advice to those feeling the reality of life after sports - find a hobby, continue to move, and stay friends with your teammates ... they really are the best kind of friends. And if you are one of the few that are lucky enough to continue to play for many years down the road, cherish every moment, every hardship, and every victory because you know that there are a ton of us just itching to get one more chance.
A couple weeks ago, one of my previous athletes at Laurier asked me to share a bit about my life after sports. I am always so thankful to talk about the wonderful things sport opened up for me, so I was happy to share. You can check out this piece here.
Finally, I need to give a shout-out to a good friend of mine Alex Anthony who has an incredible talent for capturing moments. What was once a hobby, has now become his full-time job - he is the Video Production Specialist with the Toronto Argos. When we were in our fourth year, he asked to do a short video on me during my senior game. I will be forever grateful to Alex for allowing me to re-live my senior game for just a brief moment at any time. You can find Alex's work on here.
Feel free to comment below with your favourite part about being an athlete - past or present :)