My Athletic Career as I Knew it is Over… What’s Next? By Aisling Keane

Throughout my four years as a collegiate soccer player, I have witnessed my older teammates make the daunting transition from collegiate athlete to “normal person” once their senior season concluded. I always swore that once my time came to an end, I would lie on a couch for the next ten years to make up for the hours of grueling exercise I put my body through each week.

As a soccer player, I have never had to plan a workout for myself. I had hours of practice, time in the weight room, and additional cardio all scheduled for me. Though no practice or workout was easy, all I had to do was show up. With one week left as a collegiate athlete, I feel the walls closing in on me. I am about to be abandoned by the perfectly tailored workouts my coaches and trainers have always formulated for me, and left to my own devices.

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Smith Soccer “Senior Night”

Before, I fantasized for the days I will soon have. When I had to follow a sport-specific lifting program all year, I wished I had more freedom. I wished I could train for a race or run whenever I wanted to, without thinking that it would make me too tired to perform well during my next practice. I despised having to walk to the gym at 6:00am for lift before the sun had even risen. My teammates and I would struggle together, but what would get me through was thinking about the time I would be able to be an athlete on my own terms.

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Now, I’m there. Aaaaannndd, I have no clue what to do. Part of me feels as though I have a road of endless opportunity. A larger part of me feels as though my future is this large hole and I have no clue how to fill it. Sport has been my main release my whole life, and now sport as I’ve known it is coming to an end. Looking forward to the month of November, I have a few goals to help me navigate this transition.

 

  1. Try new things that I couldn’t before. 6:00am spin class always caught my eye, but I had lift at the same time. Now’s the perfect time to give it a try!
  2. Do something active every day. I can easily slip into a Netflix binge watching session, and I want to try to avoid this and be as present as possible. Get outside for a run, do a lifting program, stretch. I have succeeded academically when in season because I do best when busy & tired. Even though I will not have the same schedule imposed on me, I’m going to try to maintain the aspects that served me well.
  3. Get meals with my team. I wouldn’t have been able to make it through fitness tests and grueling preseasons if it wasn’t for my team. During this time in limbo it will help to have my biggest support network near.
  4. Focus on expanding areas of myself that I never fully had the time to invest in. I think I’ve been playing the same 5 chords on my guitar for the past 4 years. In this time, I’ll engage my creative side as well.
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12  years old

And, at the end of the day- I’m more than just soccer. The past 18 years of my life have been dedicated to the game but I’m excited to see what’s in-store.

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