Sports Column: Finding Friendship in Sports

“My sport is taking up all my time and opportunities. I want to be a tutor; I want to make my first salary; I want to have enough time to do my homework. But my sport is in my way.” That is what I would have said a few weeks ago, and, in fact, I did rant to my friends about it. I mean, two to four hours a day because of morning practice, six days a week—that’s eighteen hours a week. And, logically speaking, we can do a lot with an extra two hours a day.

With my speed of a snail, I can still finish my chemistry or math homework sets, or do my ID1 or psychology reading. Or, I can modify my schedule to work a few hours a day, my only source of money. Honestly, given the fact that I’m in a Division III school, I could have—and would have—quit if it wasn’t for this girl in my sponsor group. She made a good point: why would I quit a sport I’ve been doing my entire life (by life, I mean since I was three) without even trying the college experience?

Given my not-so-positive nature (which I call being a realist), captain’s practice wasn’t as pleasant as what I thought it would be, and it was made even worse because I wasn’t in shape at all. As a first-year, it should be almost natural for me to push hard and try to be the best so that people would notice me, I’d have a lot of friends, and then I would succeed in life. But then again, as a realist, I did not push hard and go in front of people.

Then came the season and I realized I wasn’t the only one to dislike my sport. We had a team meeting at 11:40 p.m. the Sunday before the actual season, where seniors shared their experiences about the sport. It occurred to me that some of them don’t like swim that much. What kept them going was the people, the team. It never occurred to me that the team could have such a big impact on my life. Besides, I thought: real men don’t need no friends.

Looking back right now, at my two-weeks-ago self, I must have been so narrow-minded. This team is family to me. They are the people that judge nothing: when you sing, they sing with you; when you dance, they dance with you; when you suffer in a practice set, they cheer you on, as cliché as this may sound. Bottom line: they are the people that hold you safely as you stand at the front tip of the Titanic.

What’s more, sports are a healthy and effective stress reliever. Under the vigorous and competitive environment we are immersed in, drinking and partying aren’t exactly the best go-to solutions. I mean, no stress doesn’t have to equal a failing liver or bad hangovers. Stress shouldn’t be the cause of substance use. Just do a sport! It doesn’t have to be a varsity team or anything. You can work out, or just jog, with friends or alone. But it will definitely clear your mind.

I am not forcing you to engage yourself in a sport. I'm just recommending and writing about how I feel. I don’t know about you, but unless I really have no choice, my sport will continue to be a part of my four-year college experience. Swim has brought me family, swim continues to relieve my stress, and swim told me and constantly reminds me that I belong at the Claremont Colleges.

What about you?

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