Game over: The spark of sports wears off for retired student-athletes

Junior Hadley Dobish takes a picture while on a ski trip.

Photo submitted by Hadley Dobish.
Junior Hadley Dobish takes a picture while on a ski trip. Photo submitted by Hadley Dobish.

Sports give opportunities for connection-building, fun, and physical activity. But, what happens when these sports lose their spark and people quit the once joyful extracurricular?

Patient yet cold, Hadley Dobish awaits the start of her race. After a year of Nordic skiing for the competitive spa team, she ended her racing endeavor after her freshman season.

Dobish takes a picture with nordic ski teammates and friends Georgia Ross and Johanna Pierach.
Photo submitted by Hadley Dobish.

Dobish did not start skiing with SPA. She spent years enjoying the hobby with family and friends, loving the sport’s exposure to nature and physical activity. Despite her love for skiing, she disliked the team: “I just realized I was not a competitive person and hated racing,” Dobish said.

I just realized I was not a competitive person and hated racing.

— Hadley Dobish

Nevertheless, even after leacing the team, Dobish stayed close with some of her teammates but has cut all ties with her coaches. Quitting wasn’t a decision that was difficult for her. “It wasn’t hard for me to do because I had really not liked it for so long,” she said. Her teammates supported her decision, and she still enjoys skiing in her free time.

Since the 5th grade, Elzie Bieganek has been passionate about playing volleyball. She loved the feeling of being part of a team and the thrill of the game. However, things changed in her freshman year when there were issues with the coaching staff, ultimately leading to her losing interest in the sport. Instead of dwelling on the disappointment, Elzie pursued her other interests and started participating in plays. She could explore her creativity and have more time with her newfound free time. She’s found time for singing and acting, feeling content with her decision.

When I hear people complaining about volleyball, I am most happy I quit.

— Elzie

She remains friends with the girls on her team and still hears news from the volleyball team. “When I hear people complaining about volleyball, I am most happy I quit,” Bieganek said. Regardless, she enjoyed her years on volleyball courts and sometimes even considers rejoining the team.

It’s important to remember in sports, that when competition becomes the sole focus and personal enjoyment and camaraderie take a backseat, stepping back can be a viable option. Sometimes, a break can provide the necessary perspective to either rediscover one’s passion for the sport or realize that it may be time to explore new interests. By prioritizing personal fulfillment and healthy competition, individuals can enjoy sports and activities that align with their values and goals.

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