Until the whistle blows

My dreams of being a sports star were crushed at a very young age. However, through this experience, I became a realist and better prepared for the hardest sport of all-life.

This lesson was learned starting early in my youth with soccer. I tried the whole running and kicking a ball thing, however, it was clear that my lack of coordination would inhibit me from becoming the next Mia Hamm.

Devastated with my world cup dreams destroyed at the age of six, my mother thought cheerleading would be my next route to the top. I wanted to play football, but every Saturday I put on a cheerleading uniform and gave it a try. Likewise to soccer, pom poms and spirit fingers were not for me. Not to mention, I never did the chants or have even a hint of acrobatic talent in me.

My inner tomboy eventually won over my mother, and as one of the earliest feminists in my generation, I prepared for a life of touchdowns and Super Bowls as one of the first girl flag football sensations.

The joy of receiving my first jersey with the Jets logo boldly displayed across the jersey and my color-coordinated flags can only be compared to the joy of the final bell ringing on Friday. I was ready to make boys cry. However, my lack of speed, coordination and an overall fear amongst coaches to play a girl with rowdy boys resulted in a meek two seasons.

There was also baseball, swimming, softball-I was actually marginally successful there-and ultimately settled on golf which I played throughout high school.

Like many children, I had dreams of a being recruited to a college, going pro, and then living a life of luxury in my mansion.

It might’ve been progressive thinking for an eight-year-old, but I realized that sports weren’t going to be my ticket to the future and I needed to craft my future the old-fashioned way-school.

Sports will not always be there.

My lack of coordination, slow speed, and gender were out of my control but school wasn’t. I simply read, wrote, did my homework and everything made sense.

I didn’t exactly paint my future at eight-years-old, but I knew that school, not sports, would get me where I wanted to be.

It took one ninth grade Honors English class to discover that I wanted to write in my future. Words and storytelling allowed me to make sense of the world and gave me purpose.

My experience is not every student’s experience, but every student can discover their purpose.

Students may be spiking the ball, scoring baskets, and sprinting to the finish line, but this is all temporary.

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will,” author Chuck Palahniuk said.

We aren’t dying, we are alive and are imbued with the most energy, ambition and passion that we will ever have in life.

It’s time to throw ourselves out there, put a serious effort into learning, and discover something that we could do forever and feel like it has meaning.

Writing gives me purpose, but helping people, inventing things or even something as simple as making the world a better place could give another student purpose.

Join a club, explore a career, do something out of the ordinary. Because everyone has a purpose greater than their performance in a sport.

The final whistle may blow and sports careers may end, but life doesn’t.