Ever since I was little, soccer has been a part of my life; I simply love it. Lately, it’s become a part of who I am. When I’m writing applications for scholarships or a resume, soccer teams are the first thing I put down because they are an integral part of my being.
Recently I’ve come to a crossroads as to whether I should participate in my high school’s soccer team next year (I tore my ACL this fall and didn’t play halfway through the fall season and couldn’t play during spring). I have been agonizing over this decision for months, and have been seesawing back and forth between joining the team or quitting and just playing by myself or with friends.
One of the worst things about playing on the soccer team is the stress it causes- and it sure caused me a heck of a lot of stress this season on Junior Varsity, so why should next year, when I’ll be expected to play on Varsity, give me any less stress? I really am a sucky soccer player in comparison to the girls in my school, and am definitely the worst player in my grade, probably one of the worst in the whole program; for most of the games on JV, I didn’t even start, and I was a junior. I’ve always tried my hardest, but what happens when trying my hardest just isn’t enough? I used to come home from soccer practice and just cry because my self-esteem was so low and I felt like I was a worthless soccer player. It hurt a lot, and it still hurts, because reading this makes me want to cry.
It would have been easier if I had more friends on the team, but I don’t. I mean, I like most of the girls, but some of them intimidate me because they are so good, a little cocky and not afraid to call you out in the meanest way. I feel like they’re all going to hate me because I’m so bad. If I were bad but a jokester and loveable, it might be different, but I”m awkward and shy. The girls on the soccer team didn’t try to include me, and I remember one game they just wouldn’t pass to me as much as I called for the ball. I mean, sure, they talked to me, but I didn’t feel like I truly belonged, and I hated feeling so alone all the time. That would be six days a week, about 3 hours a day, of feeling lonely. I hate that feeling.
Contrariwise, why can’t I just make friends? I’ve grown more outspoken since I tore my ACL and more friendly, though that could be just because I’ve been hanging around with my friends more, who I’m pretty loud with. I also feel that, because I was injured and would only start playing again around June, they might be more accepting of my blunders and know that I’m trying my best for my circumstances. I know I won’t get a lot of playing time, but I’ll be playing the role of the underdog, which I do best in. But what if no one wants to be my partner and I’m stuck alone? What if the lonely and self-loathing feelings come back? The coach and I don’t really have a good relationship, and I haven’t really talked to anyone on the team other than two girls. In fact, most of the girls just stopped talking to me. Sometimes I just miss the days when the entire team were friends and I loved all of them and everyone talked to me. We could actually hang out back then.
This part of my situation is made even worse because all of my friends are in marching band. They have been trying to coerce me to do colorgaurd for years now, but it’s not that interesting to me. I have been tempted though, simply because I want to feel like I belong in an organization, where the people feel like family to me. I’ve never really had that, or haven’t had it in the longest time. I know it’s hard for me to make friends and open up, so I guess I can sort of blame myself. But that only makes this whole thing harder. My friend has suggested that I try it out, or at the least do pit crew so that I can get into shows and hang out without being in the actual performance. My little sister is thinking of doing colorgaurd…this especially hurts because she might get closer to them than me, and I’ll feel even more ostracized than I already do. Usually I’m fine with them, but during marching band season I feel like a complete outsider.
If I don’t play, I lose part of my identity. I can’t see myself doing anything but playing soccer to take up my time. I feel like I don’t really have anything else that is purely mine. I just started doing Science League this year, volunteer, and write this blog, but soccer has always been a part of me. If I lose that, I lose myself (and I just started to tear up, so I know this is true). I don’t know what I’d do with myself. So yes I do have some things that I could do otherwise, and maybe me stopping soccer will be the start of a new activity in my life; I have been trying to find a job. But i can’t help but wonder…would it really be the same playing by myself or with friends and just training without participating in a real team and real games?
I’ve been believing that if I train during the fall and don’t play on the high school team, I can play intramural soccer in college, or maybe even on the town’s spring team. But is that even possible? Will I still be up to standard? In the past I’ve had a barely okay training ethic, and I’m terrified that if I don’t do soccer this year I’ll lose it completely, in addition to losing one of the most important pieces of my being. I want to prove that I can come back from this injury and be better than ever. But is that even possible? My training ethic doesn’t think so.
But I love soccer so much. Can’t you strive for something you love and achieve it, no matter what the odds? That requires a lot of work, and I just don’t know if my heart is in it as much as it needs to be. Sometimes I think it is, but other times I hate everything that reminds me of soccer because it’s so painful. I almost started crying when we went to my sister’s practice to pick her up and I saw some girls I knew playing on their spring team. It reminded of the good old days of soccer, when I actually loved my team mates and felt like, if I only trained a little harder, I could be amazing. Nowadays it would take a miracle to make me an acceptable player. Do miracles happen, and would one happen to me? I have no clue.
Sometimes I think that I’m being ridiculous and want this perfect environment for playing soccer that is never going to happen; that what I should be doing is making my environment work with me. Conversely, maybe I’m trying too hard to force myself into something that used to excite me but might not be working or worth it anymore. It’s like a relationship you hate to love; you don’t know when you’re supposed to leave, or how it will affect your future. I’m terrified of making the wrong decision and everything surrounding soccer just hurts right now. I thought writing out this blog would help me sort my feelings, but it has only made me as confused as ever.