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.