Dive in ‘n’ run

Sports shouldn’t most be the most important part of your life


I’m pretty sure I speak for most athletes when I say that there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to be super committed to your sport. There’s always something more that I feel like I need to do, and it often leads athletics to take up the vast majority of my time and mental capacity.
Not only do athletes put pressure on themselves, but there’s also the enormous pressure, whether it’s on purpose or not, from friends, family and coaches alike. It sometimes seems like the whole world depends on my performance.
But, in the grand scheme of things, this mindset simply isn’t necessary, or even advantageous. Why are so many athletes pressured to focus on their sports when there’s so much more to life?

I obviously think that sports are super valuable, and I am so thankful for all that they’ve done for me, but I think keeping them in check is important. When sports start to become your only interest and get in the way of your relationships, it’s time to reconsider your priorities.

First off, putting all of your energy into sports isn’t going to give you success later in life since the vast majority of players won’t play professionally. Let’s look at football for an example. According to LeagueSide, there are over 1 million football players in the U.S. Only about 6.5% will go on to play in college. Of athletes who play in college, only 1.6% will get drafted into the NFL. And, those who do make it to the NFL only last an average of under four years, according to Scholarship Stats.com, which is sponsored by the NCAA and NAIA eligibility centers.

What will they do for the rest of their lives? If they’ve never known anything else except for football, that transition could be detrimental to their success later on. However, if they’ve cultivated many different skills and hobbies throughout their career, they are much more likely to do well after sports.
Additionally, if sports are the sole focus of your life, I’m sorry to say it, but you really aren’t that interesting. I recently went on a date with a runner (he doesn’t go here), and when I asked about his other hobbies, he stared at me blankly. Needless to say, I’m not going out with him again. I think that sports are a great addition to someone’s life, but when it’s the only thing there, it’s just not it.

My first two years of high school, I was uber-focused on my athletics, and I saw my relationships with others suffer a lot. All I did was go to school, go to practice, eat, do homework, go to sleep and repeat. I gave myself no time to have fun. This year, I’ve really focused on letting myself enjoy things, and I can tell you that junior year has been my favorite by far. Since I’ve widened my interests and taken away my laser focus on sports, I’ve gotten so much closer with people, and I am happier than I’ve ever been before.

Another example of relationships and sports conflicting is Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. He and his wife, Gisele Bündchen, recently got divorced after Brady decided to return back to the NFL after previously announcing his retirement. According to CNN, Bündchen wanted Brady to be home more so that he could be more present for their children. But Brady decided to play anyway, and look what happened. I’m not involved in their relationship, but from the outside it sure looks like football is what caused their divorce.

Altogether, I’ll be the first person to tell you that competing in a sport is something everyone should do. But, I’ll also be the first to tell you to make sure it stays in its place and doesn’t become an idol in your life.