To The Coach That Called You A Quitter

By Victoria Sananikone, Editor In Chief

Photo from Physical Living

There will always be that coach who belittles their athlete(s). Athletes have been called every name under the sun along with nasty phrases barked at them in an attempt to dictate their submission. “You’re a slacker.” “That piece of sh*t over there…” “Idiot.” “You suck.” “You’ll never be good enough.” Even if these insults inspire a deeper work ethic or cure a mental block, they hurt to some degree. However, there is one word that stings worse than a slap across the face, a word that seems insignificant, but holds the greatest amount of disrespect in its letters: ‘quitter.’

In the realm of athletics, the word ‘quitter’ is always dripping with malice; one will say “they’re a quitter” or “she quit” as if they’re driving a spear through someone’s heart. Why is it so shameful to cease participation in something? The universal understanding of the word ‘quit’ or ‘quitter’ is immediately associated with weakness. People assume that you don’t possess the stones to finish something to the end, when in reality, ‘quitting’ is simply letting go of something that you can’t handle anymore. Some coaches can’t seem to wrap their head around this concept, let alone the state of their athlete’s mental health. They are so power-driven—lusting after points, fiending for the next win—that any sliver of noncompliance from an athlete will paint a target on their back.

To any athlete whose coach called them a quitter: you are so much more than that. You have handled all that you can. Choosing to step away from something that you can no longer handle, whether that be physically or psychologically, does not make you less valuable than anyone else. You are not what they say you are. You have come so far. You are not a quitter because you failed a lifting rep and cannot do another. You are not a quitter for sitting on the sidelines during practice because everything in life is just too much. You are not a quitter if you leave a team due to overwhelming toxicity. You are not a quitter if you refuse to stay at a table where respect is no longer being served by your coaches.

To any coach who called their athlete a quitter: how dare you. How dare you disrespect your athlete’s decision to walk away. How dare you disregard the work they have put in up to this moment and their dedication to the team and sport that robbed them of so much mental and physical tolerance. You should be ashamed to call yourself a coach; you don’t deserve that title—a title to abuse, to hurt. Your athlete will remember every word and phrase spat in their face, every cry for help that you did not answer, and the audacity you had to refer to them as a ‘quitter’. Is your ego truly so fragile?