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Posted By iamincontrol | March 18, 2014
There are plenty of people willing to speak up in favor of the value of participating in high school sports. We’ve all heard about how fun sports are and how they teach valuable skills like teamwork, hard work, and commitment. But for some people, sports can be a source of extreme anxiety and stress. That was the case for me.
As a freshman in high school, I made the varsity softball team. After the announcement was made, I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to get home and try my uniform on. I set the goal to be a four year starter and promised myself I would practice harder and longer than everyone else. My hard work paid off, and I became the starting third baseman. I was on my way to achieving my goal.
Then, during my junior year, everything changed. A new freshman made varsity and she also desired the third base position. I pledged to work even harder and practiced every moment I possibly could. Despite my hard work, I arrived one game to find a Junior Varsity jersey on my seat. I had lost my starting position.
This was one of the most devastating experiences during my time in high school. I cried for days and blamed myself for not working even harder. I became incredibly anxious for every practice and game, afraid that I would make mistakes and never get my position back. So much of my self-esteem and self-worth had come from my softball success, and I began to feel like I had less value as a person. I constantly worried about my softball performance and found it hard to have fun with my friends or concentrate on other activities. I eventually earned a starting spot again the next season, after spending an entire year obsessing over this sport and my worth on the team.
As I look back on my high school experience, I wish I hadn’t attached my value as a person to my performance as an athlete. I now realize that even when I wasn’t the best on my team, I was still a great person. I was talented at many other things and should have been proud of myself for that. As I’ve gone through college, I realize what a small part of my life high school athletics were. It certainly wasn’t worth the stress and anxiety I felt and the pressure I put on myself. If you are a high school athlete, focus on having fun, learning those important lessons, and spending time with friends. Remember that your worth as a person goes far beyond your athletic abilities.
For more information on handing stress and anxiety related to sports, check out this website.