Dear 10 year old self,
You don’t know it yet, but high school sports will have one of the most positive impacts on your life out of everything that you do. They will grow you, prepare you for your future, and shape your character. Sports are so much more than winning and losing, which is how you tend to see them right now. I know it is easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself to not lose or fail, but it is important to understand that failure is a part of sports, much like life. When you fail, which you will do multiple times, you must pick yourself back up as quickly as possible and keep working. Keep pushing yourself to be the best you can be without expecting to be perfect all the time because you won’t be, and that is okay.
High school sports will grow you not only physically, but mentally too. You will spend hours in the weight room, gym, on the track, and on the field where you will get stronger. Your muscles will grow and your athletic ability will improve with time. However, you will be most proud of the development of your mental toughness. As a young athlete, you often had doubts about your capability. You did not always think you could finish the game or compete against “those girls”. As you mature mentally and physically, you will come to realize that you can compete with anyone if you think you can. A positive mindset and confidence in yourself can go a long way. I will be the first to tell you that confidence in your abilities comes more naturally as you get to be an upperclassman, but it is important to always have it when you are competing. You are good enough, you always have been good enough, and you always will be good enough! Whether you are winning or losing, you will always be growing.
You might think that your wins and losses will be the most memorable part of your athletic career, but the best memories will actually be of your teammates. Not to spoil anything for you, but some of your favorite memories after high school will include: the sleepovers at summer basketball camps, team meals, time spent running back and forth at track meets cheering on teammates, the time in between games during day long softball tournaments, and many more. Your teammates will become a second family, and it is important to work equally as hard at being a good teammate as you work on being good at each sport.
Sports will bless you with numerous opportunities to volunteer in your community with your team. It is important to always show up to help because our community will do so much for you while you are in high school. They will cheer you on, businesses will sponsor various meals and events, and they will offer you support and love. Give back to your community as much as you can. As important as sports are, I also encourage you to join other clubs and organizations that give back to the school and community as well. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself with activities, but I highly recommend being a part of at least one service group or club outside of athletics. Spend time talking to people because the community members that support your sports teams will be the reason that home games and meets feel so special.
Lastly, enjoy every second that you get to spend practicing and playing the sports you love with the people you love. You never know when your last time to play or run might come. Oftentimes, it is sooner than you expect. Sometimes the last time happens without you knowing it will be the last. I also want to warn you, when you take off your jersey for the last time, whether you win or lose, it will hurt all the same because high school athletics have made you into who you are today, and you can never thank them, or the people who made them possible, enough for what they have done for you.
Your senior self