As Coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” However this mainly applies to those athletes that are driven towards success in their sport no matter what. For others, especially college students, it is not quite that simple.
Being an athlete requires reconciling studies with practice and finding the time for each. College is a place to expand your mind intellectually but also offers the opportunities to those who choose to continue playing a game or running in a meet.
“I did sports in high school and I thought I might as well do it in college because that is what I’m passionate about,” said sophomore Hilary Schultz.
Schultz ran on the Guilford cross country team last year but decided not to participate in the track and field season.
“I decided to quit because … there were not very many people and it was hard to motivate yourself to go to practice,” said Schultz.
The transition from high school to collegiate sports is difficult. The competition is more intense and the practices take up more time than one would think.
“For me, participating in collegiate athletics was simply taking too much time,” said sophomore University of Illinois student Manu Kumar. “I wanted to have the chance to take advantage of all the opportunities offered on campus and I simply couldn’t while I was spending around four hours a day at practice.”
Kumar was a star cross country and track and field athlete in high school, acquiring many accolades and decided to continue once he graduated.
“I wanted to attend a school with a competitive team,” said Kumar. “I wanted to be around other talented individuals who would help push me to become a better athlete.”
Of course not only is it time management that comes into play, but other factors as well. Teammates become close comrades and the team feels like a second family. Unfortunately, sometimes this sense of family is not felt.
“I liked running but I didn’t have something I was used to,” said Schultz. “In high school, our cross country team was a family and when I came to college, it was five girls on a team and it was hard to make it seem like before.”
“I think that collegiate athletics is just so much more involved and intense than high school athletics, that passion alone isn’t enough to keep you motivated,” said Kumar.
However, many others decide to continue running or playing a certain sport. What is the reason for their continued commitment?
“Most of the people who are on the team are there because they love their sport and want to keep doing it (hopefully)”, said Kumar. “It was definitely difficult making the decision to quit. But the entire situation helped me figure out that, as much as I loved running, it wasn’t what I wanted to spend my time doing.”
There are a number of reasons why athletes leave teams, such as recurrent injuries or the need to focus on schoolwork, and why others decide to stay.
In the end it is a personal choice.
However, this does not mean that the athletes are less passionate about what they do, it was just not the right fit for them.
“I miss (running) for the competition,” said Schultz.
“Since leaving, I’ve had the opportunity to join other organizations on campus and really start exploring other interests,” said Kumar.
Experiences leave imprints on everyone, no matter how brief the meeting. They aid in helping people move one step closer to finding what exactly it is they are looking for.