The impacts that a long-term sport has on athletes here at FHC

Athletes throughout all sports have gone through many encounters to get to where they are now. For instance, some join a team for friends or others decide to try something new. However, there are some athletes that have not only been doing a sport but have been committed to it for years. Along with the years spent on improving in that one sport, there have been many things that some long-term athletes here at FHC have gone through and with that comes different life experiences.

For instance, many of these athletes have been able to take away positive aspects from their sports. One athlete that has experienced this is Sydney VanLente, who is a competitive swimmer and was on the FHC varsity swim and dive team all four years. “One positive of the sport is the people I met along the way,” Sydney said. “I have made some of my best friends.” When participating in a sport for so long, you not only gain the experience of commitment, but you also gain a community and even family that many would not know of. Many athletes are able to bond well with other teammates due to the fact that they are the only other people who are going through the same struggles with that sport every day. 

However, like every aspect of life, every positive comes with its negatives, which is no different when it comes to long-term sports. For instance, Zariah Knuff, both a soccer and futsal player, knows of these struggles all too well. “Some of the negatives are the pressure you receive,” Zariah said. “When you do a highly competitive sport like soccer for most of your life, a lot of people expect you to take it somewhere, whether that’s aiming to play for college or trying to get on better teams and train in better programs.”

Even so, these athletes have also been able to take away many life lessons that can be applied to their everyday lives. “Something that the sport has done for me throughout the years is taught me about perseverance,” Sydney said. “With a lot of training, it gets repetitive, but I kept going because of the love I have for the sport.” These lessons not only teach them how to improve their everyday lives but helps them move past struggles and bounce back to be able to take away the most from a specific experience or circumstance. 

All-in-all, these long-term athletes have learned a great deal about the real and outside worlds through their sports. They have learned to embrace everything that may be thrown their way, both the negatives and positives, and learn how to make the most out of that situation. They are also able to help many young athletes who may be struggling in a certain area of their sports. In the great words of Lauren Wolffis, a gymnast who has been on the FHC varsity gymnastics team for all four years: “Have fun with the sport and not worry too much about how you compare with the other people on your team. Remember that sports should be fun, and if it’s causing you more stress than enjoyment, it’s ok to step back and not push yourself so hard.”