Football was a sport I grew up playing, I can’t even remember when I first touched a ball because it was so long ago. Never in a million years did I think I was going be saying bye. I grew up playing recreational soccer, and my parents never agreed with me playing it but even though I put even more pressure on myself to make sure I was playing to my fullest potential.
Being a football player is such an amazing achievement and can offer some fun while being in high school or college. It can also be very stressful if you do not know how to balance school, a social life, and play soccer. The key to balancing college life as an athlete is to stay on a schedule. Most of the time college football players come to the campus before any of the other students, this is for preseason. Even though you are practicing twice a day and may have many different meetings, this gives you a chance to become familiar with the campus and also to get comfortable being in a new environment. Another advantage to being on the soccer team as that you can make friends more easily and there are people on the team who are older than you that can show you the ropes to your new life.
The beginning of my journey
I would say around fifth or sixth grade, I became more invested in this sport knowing it was something I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. Football season usually begins in the fall semester. Going to class and having workouts and games can be hard to manage it all. Most teams tend to practice in the afternoon, a good suggestion would be to schedule your classes in the morning. This will prevent you from having any conflict with your class schedule and your football schedule. Scheduling your classes in the morning may also give you a chance to take a nap before practice or get a cup of coffee (definitely not recommendable), hahah; which will become very beneficial to you once the season gets going. After class comes practice which usually takes up two to three hours of your day. The reason is because if you need anything treated before practice such as taping an ankle, or getting heated before practice this all needs to be done before the start of practice. The next thing would be to get to practice about 20 minutes before the session actually starts. Most coaches want you to already be warmed up before they get to the field. After practice you may be required to take an ice bath to prevent you from being sore the next day.
Schedule during season
During the season you will usually have tough practices Monday through Wednesday and then they will become lighter as the week progresses to get you ready for the game on Friday or Saturday. The best way to get your homework done or anything you have to do for school is to try to set a time after practice to get this work done. The most beneficial thing to do is make the time consistent everyday. Some schools make you do study hall your first year of school and this can be allotted time you devote to doing your homework, some schools do not make you do this and you will have to come up with a time on your own. One day out of the week you may have an off day to rest, this time is good to get caught up on school work and also hang out with friends that you have made around campus. The spring semester maybe a little different because teams usually have two practices during the off season, a workout session and a lifting session. These usually occur one in the morning before classes begin and one in the afternoon.
The end of the journey
After so many joys that football has brought me, I think this is hardest things I've had to write but after a lot of thought and consideration I think it was time for me to retire from competitive football even though I did not become a professional. Since I was in high school I've battled with injury after injury - having used countless kinesio tapes on my legs, having numerous ankle and hamstring injuries, then almost going to surgery for a knee injury. This year I've kept pushing and working hard to join a soccer team again, however due to how intense this sport is, one day after coming back from the tryout my knees could not handle it anymore. I'm just 23 but after every match felt like I was a 60 or 70 year old person with bruises and pain all over my legs, and barely could walk. I've worked my ass off over the past 8 years trying to fight off these injuries but it's time to listen to my body AND my mind and call it a day.
When we are faced with a challenge in life and we are asked to make a choice, there is never a good or bad decision. As I believe we are meant to go through certain obstacles to help us appreciate the journey as a whole. There may be times where you look back and feel like you could have handled the situation better, but instead of feeling regret, understand you have now learned from it and if you're ever up against the same situation again, it's possible to approach it differently. I do not believe in the perfect human being, this is why I feel it's important to be open to learning and growing as a person.
My advice if you ever faced with a decision that you're unsure of, wondering if it's the right or wrong choice. It's to go with what you feel is right in that moment, do it for you and don't be hard on yourself if it doesn't quite work out in your favor, or the way you saw it happening. Remember to appreciate the journey.
"The past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it" by Rafiki