Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Confessions of a College Athlete

Okay, former. Can I say I’m retired? That always sounds more distinguished.

I started out as a soccer player. I guess it’s in my Brazilian blood. That or a really liked the maroon jerseys we wore on my YMCA team when I was in grade school. I wasn’t very good, but I had a lot of energy.  We didn’t have a girls’ team in high school, so I held my own on our all male team. I stuck with it through senior year and I even started in two games. (One was senior night, that’s a given. The other was when our coach was angry that all of the guys were lazing around and he let the first 11 people on the field start.)

I knew I couldn’t give up sports when I went to college, but I wasn’t exactly a pro. I was horrible at basketball.  I believe my entire high school career consisted of 4 attempted shots. I was okay at soccer. I got pummeled by a 200lbs “freshman” during my 2nd game and I managed to stand up, bleeding mouth and all. My claim to fame in track was running on the 4X200 team at state in 8th grade. By the time I got to high school, I lost my spot on all of the relays to girls from feeder schools. I gave jumping a shot. That is until I called our coach an inappropriate name and got kicked off the team two weeks before the season ended–not my loveliest moment.

Bless Division 3 college sports. I met with the soccer coach and things were going great until I found out that practice was the same time as band rehearsal. He asked if I played any other sport and I told him I jumped in high school. I made sure to leave out the whole getting kicked off the team thing. A few weeks later I got a call from the track coach and I was set to jump for them in the fall.

Now, here’s the deal. Anyone could be on the track team. With the help of coaches I learned how to jump way better than I did in high school. Out of the 3.5 years I was on the team (I didn’t get kicked off this time, just suffered a rough injury)I managed to get our team several points in meets and I lettered my junior year.

I am still probably one of the worst jumpers that our college has ever had.  But, what makes me proud to say that I was a college athlete is the love I felt from my fellow jumpers. My closest jumper friend went all the way to nationals and jumps at least 4ft farther than me. (Trust me, that’s a lot in jumps.) But, she was the first one to encourage me and make me feel like I was really a part of the team. 

And, she only made fun of me a few times when I tried to cram pizza in my mouth right before my event…

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