The Debate of a Division One Soccer Player
We have a tendency to view playing sports in college as an unbelievable accomplishment for those who can do it, while ignoring the many difficult consequences that come with its schedule. I chose to talk to Masters because he gave me a “real” perspective on what it’s like to be an athlete at Cornell and how his life has changed since he stopped playing.
Masters immediately began our discussion by stating that “Soccer has always been a huge part of my identity. From the bonds made with teammates to the dedication the sport taught me, many of my best qualities were developed through soccer.” This is the ideal athlete we know. Someone committed to the sport and the positive qualities that come along with that dedication. However, Masters goes on to discuss how although he appreciated what he learned from the “grind” of going to games and practicing everyday, his attitude towards soccer changed overtime. He began to feel that playing soccer was just “the norm.” It was no longer a passion he pursued with all his heart but rather an aspect of his personality that had always been there and therefore should simply be retained for the sake of keeping it as part of his world. After his second season as the second-string goal keeper, Masters began to feel that he was missing out on many of the opportunities at Cornell because of soccer, which had begun to feel like a chore.
After discussing these feelings with his parents, Masters chose to step away from the world of the soccer. Masters says, “Retrospectively, I know this was the right choice. I feel like there is an immense pressure off my shoulders and I now have the time to explore other interests of mine. While I previously spent almost 24 hours a day thinking about how what I was doing would affect my ability to perform at my best, I now have the luxury to enjoy things that I like and explore aspects of who I am that I simply didn’t have the time for.” Although pursuing a sport at the division one level may seem like an incredible experience to us normal people, we forget to consider the impacts it may have on one’s everyday life.