I cried my first time playing sports; now I live for them


Coming up with topics to write sports columns about can be a struggle, and honestly, this week I could not think of an idea. So, I did what I always do when I can’t come up with an idea—I talk to my mom. Before I could even ask her the question, she said something that unintentionally gave me the answer I needed: “everything is happening for a reason, you just have to trust the process.” With that being said I immediately conceived a story that I could write: as an athlete, we are put through a lot, but everything we go through happens for a reason. 

Sports have been a part of my life since I was two where I had first signed up for the AYSO soccer league. Immediately when I got there I cried. Who would have thought that the crying two-year-old in the corner of the field would grow to become a dual-sport collegiate athlete? That is the great thing about the world of sports though: everyone has their place. Fast forward to me being six years old, and on my first YMCA team. I know YMCA can’t cut, but truthfully, I should have been an exception. To this day I don’t think I would have been on the team if it wasn’t for my grandpa being the coach. Our team did really well that year, and I did really well at picking the dandelions at the ends of the fields during the game. At this point, even my parents weren’t too sure I was going to be an athlete. However, when I was in the fourth grade I tried out for my first club team, and I made it. I felt on top of the world, and from that point forward soccer became my life. 

When I eventually reached that point where my two worlds of soccer and basketball collided, in high school, I was being forced to lean towards one sport. However, thanks to an unexpected knee surgery my freshman year, I never had to fully make that decision. Looking back on it, that knee surgery was a blessing in disguise, because without it, there was a chance of separation between me and one of my favorite sports. However, everything does happen for a reason, and this is a time, I whole-heartedly believe that this was true. 

Now, something that really hits close for all of us is the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if it wasn’t for COVID, I would have never found my new home: Wheaton College. Before March 13, 2020, I was lost in the college process of D1 soccer. However, deep down in my gut I knew that having my whole life be consumed with soccer, and not playing basketball would not make me happy. Where I really lucked out was with all the extra time on my hands, I was now able to pursue my real dream of playing both sports in college. Now that I had a cleared schedule in those first few months of quarantine, I was able to really research, and pursue colleges that checked all the boxes. After months of talking, I was finally able to visit Wheaton, and as soon as I got there I knew it was the place for me. Where would I have ended up without COVID? I still like to believe that this happened for a reason, and now I will be continuing at my favorite place. 

I know this all sounds like I am glorifying the cliche of “everything happens for a reason,” but I can promise you that’s not it. Athletes go through a lot every day, week, month, and year. There are times when you feel like quitting, but you keep going because you know it will pay off in the end. Everything that happens to you in your own world of sports is happening for a reason, and whether or not it pays off immediately, or it does 20 years from now, you would never have felt that reward if you didn’t trust the process.