One year ago I got my heart broken.
No, not by a boy.
This post is a bit of a deep (and long) one so I’m warning you now. Sometimes I question whether or not I should post certain things in fear that I will be judged, but I always write from my heart and I’m a firm believer in being honest with your readers.
One year ago I was cut from the varsity soccer team at my university. I was a returning player – one who got fair minutes as a freshman. There was a new coach, he brought in a bunch of new recruits and was determined to make some changes. But I went to training camp in August 2013 excited and ready to impress the new coaching staff. Ready to have a great year with the team I loved. I felt I was performing well and really stepping it up from my rookie year. Apparently the new coach didn’t catch that. A week in to camp, I was cut. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it
was is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in my (almost) 20 year old life.
Soccer was my life. Seriously, I have never committed so much of my life to anything other than soccer. Until I was forced to, that is. I had been playing the sport since I was 3 years old. I started playing competitively at age 10. From ages 10 to 18 I dedicated much of my life to soccer. Summers, winters, weekends, parties, concerts, other sports.. it was always “I can’t, I have soccer”. But I didn’t complain (much), I was good at it and I loved it. Not just the sport, but the relationships with my teammates and coaches. I’ve made some great friends and some great memories through soccer over the years.
When it came time for university, I chose my school based on playing soccer. I chose the coach I liked most and the best scholarship I could get. In first year I was known as “Soccer Hannah” by the other students in my dorm building. I missed so many events and parties for soccer in first year. Heck, I missed entire weekends for away games. I missed meeting a lot of potential friends, but I had my team. They were my friends. Outside of my team, I had less than 10 friends and only 2 or 3 that I was close with. I missed out on a lot of the first year university experience, but it didn’t phase me because I loved being on the soccer team.
There were times where it seemed like soccer was becoming more of a job than a sport that I loved, but my feelings about playing on the varsity soccer team never wavered. I spent the entire summer between first and second year working full time, playing in my local Premier League and training on my own for the upcoming season. I completely exhausted myself but I did it because I was determined to be better and to earn more minutes on the field than I had as a Freshman. A few weeks before training camp I went out and bought all new gear. Cleats, shin pads, sports bras, etcetera. Only to find out less than a month later I wouldn’t even be able to use them.
I found out I was cut while in my apartment with my roommate and good friend who was also on the team. We opened up the attachment in the e-mail from the coach with the updated list and I thought there was a mistake. I scanned the list up and down over and over thinking I was just skipping over my name. I wasn’t. My first thoughts were “There must be a mistake. He forgot my name. Maybe there’s another section of the list further down.”
When I finally realized my name wasn’t included, the tears immediately came. I was in shock. My roommate/ex teammate was in shock. I was so confident in my performance in our training sessions and scrimmages over the past week.. I thought I had been doing so well.
I called my dad in hysterics. Being the awesome dad that he is, he immediately got in the truck and drove the 2 hours from home to my school to pick me up (at this point there was still 2 weeks left of summer before classes actually started). I spent the rest of that day crying in my bed, inconsolable. I was sad, angry, embarrassed, and heartbroken. I didn’t know I was going to do. A year later, I still feel like that sometimes. It still hurts.
I made the decision to stay at the school and try it out as a regular person, or a N.A.R.P. (Non Athletic Regular Person) as the college athletes say. It was fun at first, going out whenever I wanted to, having free time to do as I pleased. But that only lasted so long. I hated seeing other athletes on campus, it just reminded me of what I’m not anymore. I wished I was going on away-game road trips. I don’t even like going out that much. And in a small university town, there’s not much else to do. I got bored.
Yes, I did as my parents told me and I joined clubs and put myself out there. I made a few new friends but the entire time I longed to be as close with my soccer friends as I was the year prior. Even with clubs and school work I found I had so much time on my hands and it made me sad. I felt lonely all the time – even though I had three roommates (we just didn’t have the same interests). It got to the point where I was crying every day – multiple times a day. I would call my mom crying. I would call my boyfriend crying. I was lonely, bored and sad. No matter what I did – working out, cooking, studying – I was overwhelmed with sadness. My mom was afraid of me becoming depressed.
I made it out of second year university glad to have survived. But things have started looking up since I’ve been home. I transferred schools, and will be continuing my education in nutrition at a university here in the city this fall. I started my blog, and my passion for cooking healthy, delicious foods is greater than ever. I’ve spent quality time with loved ones (including Bella) and close friends who know what I endured this past year and who have loved and supported me through it all. I’ve made new friends whose company I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve taken up running (for fun, instead of just staying fit for soccer season) and am training for my first half-marathon in October. I’ve devoted my time to other things, I’m trying to focus my energy on the positives in my life and I’m finding new things to pour my heart into.
When I was going through the worst of it this past year, I remember saying to my mom and my boyfriend “When am I going to feel happy again? I just want to be happy, I’m tired of being sad and lonely” Then I came across this quote:
Happiness is not a destination. It’s a way of life.
You can’t base your happiness on milestones that you want to reach in your life. This past year I had it in my head that in order to be happy I had to find something in my life to replace soccer and make friends at the university that had similar interests as me. So many people think that in order to be happy they have achieve a goal like lose weight, get a promotion, get married, get a degree and so on and so on. Well I’m telling you, YOU DON’T.
Happiness is not a place in your life that you can strive for. Happiness is what comes when you are living your life the way you want to live, when you’re doing the things you want to do and when you are surrounding yourself with the people that you love. Happiness is a way of life.
If you find yourself feeling unhappy or depressed for whatever reason, there are changes to be made.
Spend more time focusing on yourself and reflect on why you may be feeling this way. Fuel your body with healthy, whole foods. Get outdoors, get some exercise!
Do things that make you happy. Cook, read a book, spend time with your favourite furry friend.
Cut out the negative people in your life. Keeping those toxic vibes around will do absolutely nothing for your state of mind OR your health.
Open up to those close to you, and let them know you’re not happy with where you are in your life right now. Having the support from those closest to you makes all the difference in the world.
Most importantly, try your hardest to keep a positive attitude. This is one thing that my parents repeatedly reminded me to do throughout my roughest times this past year. Remind yourself of the good things that you do have in your life, and be grateful for those.
Getting cut from my college varsity soccer team was one of the hardest times in my life so far but for that I am grateful. It was extremely difficult for me but it also helped me see that there are millions and millions of people in the world who have it way worse than I do. There are people who are living in poverty, have lost loved ones, going through divorce, fighting illness and more. I am privileged to have the opportunity to even attend university.
A year later, I still have my bad days where I feel sorry for myself and wish I was still a part of that team. But by living every day doing things that I love to do (cooking, running, reading, writing this blog, cuddling with Bella) and surrounding myself with positive people who genuinely love and support me and everything I do, I have come a long way. I feel happy, blessed and loved.
I truly believe that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.