As I mentioned in my introduction piece, I have played lacrosse my entire life until I was forced to quit during my junior year of college. While I also mentioned that the main reason for my quitting was tied to several injuries that ended my career, that is not entirely true and is often the answer that I give to protect my self from being vulnerable or exposed.
While injuries played a large part in the end of my career, the main reason that I stopped playing was that being a party of the CU club team became my financial responsibility, due to the fact that my dad had lost his job and ‘chosen’ to find a new career path. This is the part that makes me vulnerable, it is the part of the story that I keep to my self when asked why I no longer play. It is much like what Brené Brown talks about in her Ted Talk when she mentions that people avoid being vulnerable because it brings them shame and that is exactly what I have felt when talking about this subject, especially when I had to tell my team.
The amount of time that I had between finding out that I would be taking on the financial responsibility and having to actually give up the sport I had spent my entire life playing was very short, only a couple of weeks, and at the time made the process of finding a new hobby slightly less intimidating. After all I had been playing off and on for the past two and a half years, and had only been able to play consistently over the last six months. What I knew would be the hardest was three months down the line, when I was at a new job I had found to save up money and I would have the thought about what was going on at practice that day or how they were preparing for a particular game this coming weekend and knowing that I would never play at a competitive level again.
In the article, Why Teens Quit Sports, Cohen-Sandler talks about teens losing the love of the sport and justifying no longer paying that way. Unfortunately for me I still loved the sport, the competition and most of all the team camaraderie. I was worried that by quitting playing I would be exiling my self from the team and the brotherhood and friendship that went along with it. When it came time to tell them that I would not be participating in the upcoming season, I approached them as a group writing them on the teams facebook page and left the details very open ended to avoid too many questions. I then avoided several team mates for the next few weeks, not wanting to have to answer too many questions about the situation. What ended up happening was not that the team exiled me but I exiled my self from the team.
In the article Can Vulnerability lead to Success, it is mentioned that the best leaders are ones that are willing to be vulnerable because it allows others to understand that their vulnerability is both accepted and understood. After isolating my self from the team for several weeks, I ran into a former teammate and someone who I considered to be a leader on the team. As we spoke he mentioned that he had seen my post on facebook and that he knew how lucky he was to have his parents pay for him to play and that, while it sucks that I would not be at practice anymore, the last thing I should do is make my self scarce around the team. At the end of our conversation I felt as though he understood what I was dealing with, but didn’t care because he liked me for the person I was off the field, not just the player I was on it.