Silencing the Crowd

As athletes, we desperately long for a moment of silence; a moment of peace and quiet from the constant voices of coaches and whistles beginning the next play. Day in and day out there’s completion of a routine consisting of raucous and rampage in a practice; sometimes it gets overwhelming. Except, what if silencing the daily raucous was actually more deafening than the noise itself? Regardless of how long athletes compete in a sport: high school, club, collegiate, or pro, the time comes where an athlete retires and has to transition into the real world without the structure that athletics provide.

Where there used to be exclamations of awards and recognitions, outstanding performances and congratulations, there are only memories of this noise that were once listened to on repeat. Athletics have done more than just keep players in shape and at times boost an ego here and there. They have provided an identity and a regimen that sculpts them into the specific human beings that they are. 1 Peter 4:10 says “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied Grace”. A handful of God’s children received an athletic gift, and it becomes an identity and platform to communicate faith. To hush what has been done day in and day out for so long is a form of silence that I don’t wish on anybody. After the last whistle blows or buzzer sounds of a final game, an unreal stillness floods over those who have no more.

Now that the games are over and nothing but an overwhelming amount of free time stands before them, the silence becomes a place to think and ponder how to transition out of being a competitor. When retiring from being a college athlete, it becomes time to move onto a job, a life, and a new start. Naturally, the competition in life is thrilling, but unfortunately not everyone is like that. Part of transitioning into the real world means transitioning into it with other people who were gifted with other talents besides being able to run fast and jump high. Figuring this part out is just as frustrating as dealing with the taciturnity of life, but ultimately, it shapes us into an even better person than we were when we were learning life with sports in it. The problem solving skills learned when being apart of our team seems to have vanished when performing individual tasks, it’s a puzzle at times. For a long time, it is hard and confusing until being what athletes sometimes consider “normal” actually becomes normal. With this being said, it seems as if it takes just as long to adapt to normal life as our competing life took.

We all want and need a little bit of alone time, but it’s hard to realize that when the last buzzer blows, that’s all a retired athlete has and suddenly they’d give anything to have it just once more. A long life of sports provides so many beneficial things that supposedly are preparation for the quiet life outside of them. Next time a little alone time is needed, I encourage people to bask in the noise because one day it will all be a recollection.

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7 thoughts on “Silencing the Crowd”

  1. This was a really great post, Shayla! You had many great points about the athlete life and stepping away from the game. I think a lot of it goes back to being grateful for the gifts God has given us and not taking the time that we have playing our sport for granted. I think it’s also important to remember that being an athlete is not what defines us, and even our job does not define who we are. Even though we will greatly miss the sport that we once played, as I have experienced, if we remember where our identity lies in Christ, it becomes a little bit more bearable.

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  2. Loved this post! Being someone who has already retired from being a student athlete, I know it has to be harder for people who continued to be one a lot longer than me. I think for professional athlete it can be that they almost get in some sort of depression once they must step away. It is hard for athletes to not be defined by the sport they played. That is why a lot of them will continue in the job field working with that sport. I think as athletes that is what can help people bear with their loss of the sport.

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  3. I agree with you on this. No athlete wants to retire. Nowadays medicine has made it easier for athletes to play longer like Vince Cater for example still being able to dunk at 40. However no matter how much medicine or technology advances athletes will always have to retire. It’s just part of the career.

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  4. I love this post! I could not have said it better. I solely agree with you. Most times, we take things for granted. Unfortunately, it is sometimes deeper than just the gifts that God gives us. Also, I think some athletes wish for that second chance to perhaps take a different route. I know many athletes who eat, sleep, and breathe a sport and desire to play it on the next level. I also know many former athletes, who played sports simply because they were good at them and did not feel the need to give their all; yet, now they are craving one more game. I think it is all a process in regards to transitioning, accepting reality, and even appreciating the chance given. So I do agree that everyone needs a moment not just to breathe and possibly refocus; furthermore, we should use that moment to live in the moment and remember not to take anything for granted.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a great post! There has been many times where I’ve wanted to take a break from baseball but every time I get a break the only thing I can think about is the next time I can step out on the field again. At times I feel that my sport does define me but I feel that it is easy for most athletes to do so. I like the statement you made talking about having to adjust to people that are talented in things other than sports because even though it seems so obvious it is a tough transition for a person that has experienced nothing but competitive sport personalities.

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  6. The comments above really do say it all. This was an outstanding post. You provided a perspective that many can identify with, athlete or not. Thank you for writing this.

    Like

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