The woes of an ex-student-athlete
I feel as though I cannot escape the beautiful blue athletic clothing. Elegant Dri-FIT material laughs in my face at every turn.
“Carolina field hockey.”
“Carolina women’s lacrosse.”
I look down at my T-shirt. “Carolina.” Nice.
What am I? A run-of-the-mill student? Do I even matter?
Sometimes I’ll go to the dining hall after a long day of being average and sit down to eat a grilled cheese by my lonesome. I will enjoy a few moments of cheesy, caloric satisfaction. And then, to my dismay, I’ll see them. They push multiple tables together. They wear matching rain jackets. They laugh at inside jokes. They carb-load in preparation for their game in the morning.
There was a time when I wore Nike shorts for a reason. There was a time when I drank Gatorade with a purpose. There was a time when I had teammates of my own. Ah, high school.
My heart aches for every “Good luck in your game tonight!” and “Did you score last night?” that was ever bestowed upon me. My soul yearns for team group messages and sleepovers.
Student-athletes are not simply attractive people decked out in fabulous gear. Student-athletes belong to an awesome community full of support, dedication and hard work. When you are a member of this community, you never have to doubt whether or not you belong. You never have to eat grilled cheese by your lonesome.
My days as a student-athlete are long gone. I have fallen into an existential crisis.
I am a student. I remain somewhat athletic. I have an entire wardrobe of workout attire. Where does this leave me?
Do I give up on being an athlete entirely? Do I accept my status as an average student who maintains an average level of fitness? Do I purchase mass amounts of UNC athletic clothing and fake it until I make it?
I have come to one conclusion: college is a strange place. Everybody is determined to “reinvent” themselves. We pursue passions, we express ourselves in unique ways and we do not live for labels.
Therefore, I can learn to find satisfaction in my athletic abilities without existing as an official student-athlete. I can get my name in the paper through alternate pursuits. I can be an important part of the campus community without having super cool Nike shoes and workout shorts.
Crisis temporarily averted. Maybe.
(I, like, really want the shoes.)
Until next time, I will continue to run (at a moderate pace) through the Hill with my woes.
I Have Traded Athleticism for Melodramatics
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