1. Your teammates mean the world to you. You realize that each day you’re creating a bond with the girls by your side that isn’t comparable to anything else. You eat with them, train with them, fight with them and for them but at the end of the day there isn’t a single thing you wouldn’t do for them because they’re your family.
2. Nothing comes easy. You learn just how much hard work and dedication it takes to play on a team. Nothing is given to you, especially wins but the harder you play the better the victory feels.
3. You have to make sacrifices. Being on a team means missing out on things you want to do because of the commitment you made to your sport. There are times when it gets hard but it comes down to sacrifice and knowing that you can’t give up on the people who would never give up on you.
4. You learned how far you can push yourself, and then you pushed further. There are so many things I never would have done if it wasn’t for sports and being pushed to go further and further. When you think you’ve had enough you should always push yourself a little bit further.
5. You learned the best time management skills. When you have practice you have practice and nothing else matters. That’s something you learn from day one. Being on a team makes you prioritize your schedule between school, work, practice and a social life.
6. You learned your number. And it’s still your favorite number, even though you can no longer wear it so you stick it in all your profiles and email addresses.
7. You realize that some parts of your life have an expiration. There’s a time in every athlete’s career when the clock buzzer sounds for the final time and you have to walk away with tear filled eyes. It teaches you sometimes you can love something with your whole heart but that doesn’t mean you can have it forever.
8. You always had someone there. Even if it was just a text message away you never really knew what it felt like to be on your own because you had a whole team behind you.
9. You feel like you don’t have a purpose without your sport. Without your sport you feel directionless and lost. You always knew what you were doing when you played, you knew your next move, your schedule, you listened to your coach and you had people to rely on but now you’re done with it and it’s hard.
10. You feel like part of you is missing. It’s like you lost a piece of your heart and you can’t ever get that same thrill back because your competitive days with 6 days a week of practice/games are now over. Beer leagues just don’t do it justice, but it’s better than nothing.
11. You always miss your teammates. You miss having a group of girls there always to talk to, to laugh with, to motivate and inspire.
12. You wish you could go back in time. You wish more than anything there was a way to get that time back and relive the moments that made you feel most alive.
13. You lived for game days. As much as practice might have sucked you still worked hard because you knew the game days would be worth it.
14. The period after you finished playing was very challenging for you. For me it still is, to be honest. I still haven’t figured out how to identify without my sport but it’s something I greatly miss every day.
15. You miss the traveling. As much as sitting on a bus for hours sucked it was the time you had to think and enjoy your teammates. It was the time you had to make memories and tell jokes to pass the time. It was time you had to bond and pump each other up.
16. You learned how important it is to be a team player. Being part of a team taught you that no matter how good one person is that even they can’t do it without their teammates behind them and that’s such a valuable lesson in life.
17. You miss the friends you made from other teams that you only talked to on game days. Your teammates were your world but through the sport you made friends on other teams who you also got excited to talk to after you played them. You developed relationships with so many other athletes, even though they weren’t on your team.
18. You knew there was no gut-wrenching feeling like a close game. As much as you hated close games you also LOVED them. You thrived when it was close and it made you play like if you lost the world would be over. It was the best feeling, especially when you came up with a win.
19. You miss the thrill. Playing a sport and in games made you feel alive. There was always butterflies and anxiety before the first whistle. It was a feeling you got to experience over and over, and it never got old. Now you don’t get that feeling nearly as much and it’s something you miss terribly.
20. The love you share for your sport is irreplaceable. Even though you may have hung up your shoes it doesn’t mean that your love has died. Playing on a team for the sport you love is one of the best feelings in the world and something to be cherished forever.
21. You can’t explain the feeling or bond you shared with the people you worked your ass off with. No matter how many times you try to explain the bonds and the feelings you experience no words will ever do justice because it’s such an indescribable feeling.
22. You realize just what it feels like to be part of something bigger than yourself. And you cherish that feeling forever.