By Blake Johnson
Photo: Blake Johnson
There are many wonders and joys in life, whether it’s a shiny day, a smile from someone’s face, or in this case, playing a sport. Most of the time, we as athletes grow our love for a sport in our early stages of life. From growing up with a ball in my hand before I could walk, the time has now come where I must say goodbye to the game. It never seems real to even think that something that has been a part of our lives for 20 plus years could ever be taken away. But, there will come a day where the uniform will be put on, goggles tightened, and cleats laced up one last time.
It has always been a dream for many athletes, including myself, to play professionally because everyone wants to play the children’s game. Now, there are many reasons as to why this does not come true for a lot of people whether it’s injuries, ability, age, etc. The only thing that is certain is that at some point we are all told the same…we can’t play anymore. Some people are told at 20, some people are told at 40, but we are all told. Imagine a piece of yourself has been removed from existence and floats away into the distance; that is the feeling we all fear. Now, this post is not here to shed tears or create sadness around the game we love, but only to ignite the passion we all have devoted and carried with us through a game. When this day comes, remember a few things…
First, remember the main reasons as to why you played the sport you did and what it has done for you. Remember the hard work you put in, the people you met, the 6 am practices you struggled to get up for, and emotions you felt after a win or a loss. Never forget the blood, sweat, and tears that left your body because of the impact of your love for the game. There will always be ones that did not get involved with sports really, if at all, where they will not understand how a sport means so much to someone, especially in college and on, where it pretty much takes over your life. We don’t necessarily play the sport at this point but more so live it. We hold all of the interactions and emotions created by a game that has now shaped us into somebody. Lastly, after all the tears and heartaches have simmered down, think about what your next step will be. What are you going to do now? Where are you going to work? What car are you first going to buy? What are you going to name your first child? There are so many things to look forward to after this feeling leaves.
Consider all of the possibilities your life can have after the game is over. Once you have designed your own path, remember that this game has influenced this path. It has taught you how to deal with failure, how to work with a team, how hard you can push yourself, and how much you can love something. For all of the people that never got a chance to play or had the ability to play with what you had, remember how you played for them deep down. Remember your coach pushing you to be the best, and when you were tired, you fought back and said, “I’m not done.” Remember the heart beating like a drum when you were neck and neck in the race or on a breakaway for a goal, or shooting that last shot. Always remember what this game has done for you and how it has shaped you into the person you are today. We will say goodbye to the game one day, but it will always stay in the streams of our blood until the day we pass off into history. You loved this game for as long as you stepped onto its playing surface, and it has loved you ever since you thought about it. No matter what this game is, it will always be with you.
This is more than just a game.
Note from the editor:
Blake Johnson is a senior from McKendree University and will graduate in the spring of 2019. Blake was involved in many sports such as soccer and baseball during his athletic carreer at McKendree. Here are some of the highlights of his carreer:
- High School:
First All-Conference baseball and soccer junior/senior year
All region freshman and sophomore year for soccer
- McKendree University:
Junior Year: Scores 3 goals, 1 assist
Walked on for baseball after soccer ended
Senior Year: scores 1 goal for soccer
Broadcasts the games for baseball