Wingate Senior Athletes are preparing to hang up their collegiate sports careers

Maggie Smith, Staff Writer

Some people’s first words are ball. Some people start playing a sport not long after they even learn to walk. People grow up around sports, and sports become apart of people’s life. For some, it is their life. So what’s it like when it’s all over?

For some people sports becomes a way a life. It requires commitment, hard work, and dedication. It can be rewarding and disappointing all in one. Sports is an emotional journey and the emotion of your last game is indescribable.

The saying goes, “All great things must come to an end.” This saying only helps a little. Like anything in life, you don’t realize how much you love something until it’s gone and you never know when it’s going to be taken away.

Through sports you gain your best friends. You see each other every day at practice and you bond because of the mutual passion you share for the sport. You bond through competing against each other. You bond over wins and over losses. You build each other up and you have each others back.

In high school, your last game is sad because you know you’re about to go separate ways with your teammates and most of them you’ll never see again. It’s sad to know you’ll never be apart of that same team with those same players again; it’s sad to know you’ll never play for that same coach again.

But for those who get to play again in college it makes it a little easier because you know it’s not completely over. You’re excited to move on to bigger and better things and to play at the next level.

For Wingate Senior Lacrosse player, Kendall Sienon, who’s Lacrosse career just ended, she said that playing a sport in collegian level versus a high school level is “virtually incomparable.”

Leaving high school behind and your high school teammates behind can feel like the end of the world. You’ve known most of your teammates and friends since elementary school, and you honestly believe nothing’s going to compare to it and the goodbyes are the hardest.

What you don’t realize is, playing a college sport is completely different. Sure you may only know your college teammates for four years whereas you knew some of your high school teammates for 12, but the goodbyes feel completely different and maybe even worse.

In college, you start all over. You have a new coach to impress and new teammates to become friends with. You have to adapt and gel with your new teammates. Playing on a collegiate team, you play with teammates from all over, not people you’ve known since elementary school, and not people who were raised like you. You start over and you think you have a whole four years to develop your role on the team and to become best friends with your teammates.

What you don’t realize is you only have four years and how fast they’ll fly. You don’t realize it’ll fly even faster than high school. You don’t realize that you’ll make lifelong friends that you develop even closer relationships with than the ones you had in high school.

You leave high school and never talk to some of those teammates again, and knowing that, you’re aware that it’s most likely going to happen with some of your college teammates, and that hits home. Especially because you and your teammates are all about to go separate ways all over the country and join the real world.

Sienon said she cried after her last game. “The emotions got to me and not because we lost but because of the sinking realization that this was the last lacrosse game I will be playing in,” said Sienon, “It is a little sad to be done but it hasn’t sunk in quite yet that I will not be stepping on the field again.”

When your high school sports career ends and you leave those teammates behind, it almost feels like your world is coming to an end, and in a way it is…that part of your world, that chapter, does end…but a new one begins.

When your college career ends, it’s a whole different story. When it ends your whole sports career is over, and it’s an even harder goodbye. You only had four years with those college teammates who also became your best friends, and those long four years spent everyday together and those long hours of practice, still aren’t enough.

When you play a college sport your best friends automatically are your teammates because those are the first people you meet on campus and they’re the people you spend the most time with. Moving on to the real world is already scary but leaving behind your best friends is even scarier.

I have gained some of my closest friends through lacrosse. Lacrosse brings us together as a mutual interest but I feel as if being apart of a sport and experiencing those things as teammates and friends brings you so much closer together. Some of them will definitely be in my wedding and a part of my life for many years to come,” said Sienon.

College is the best years of your life and a huge part of that for a collegiate athlete is because of the sport they played. In college you find yourself and a huge part of that is because of your best friends, you find yourselves together.

Playing a college sport plays a big role in finding yourself. You learn to lead, to work with others, how to communicate with others, etc. There is a lot you can learn about life from a sport.

When your college career ends it’s hard to accept that you’re about to leave this place that has been your home for four years. You’re about to leave a place where you find yourself.

You’re leaving a place where a thousand memories were made. It’s hard to leave that and all your friends behind and it’s extremely hard to leave behind the sport you’ve been passionate about since you were young.

The sport that has brought you so much happiness. When you play on your home field for the last time you realize you’ll never get that feeling back. The feeling of your friends and family in the crowd cheering for you.

Playing the sport you love with your best friends. Laughing on the field and leaving everything you have on that field. A sport can even be a stress reliever during college. For those few hours your on that field your head is in the game and all the stress of school is temporarily gone.
The question then becomes. what happens when you enter the real world? What’s your stress reliever? Sure you can play in rec-leagues, intramural leagues, adult leagues, etc. but will it ever really be the same?

Edited by: Brea Childs

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