To play or not to play: 2 seniors wrestle with decision to play college athletics
By Tori Nothnagel
Soccer has always been a huge part of my life and is one of my favorite things to do. It keeps me in shape, it lets me get away from stress for a while and I have made some of the greatest friends. With college approaching, the question is: do I want to try and play on a collegiate team or just put it aside and play club or intramural instead?
While looking at colleges, I have not really made soccer a top priority in choosing which college I want to attend. I know I will never be good enough to play D1, that is just the plain hard truth, but I have definitely thought about maybe playing D2 or D3.
One college I am looking at is D3 and has the major I am intending on studying. Best of both world’s, right? That is just the hard part of it: am I still even good enough to play on a D3 team, keep up with class work and try to major in Music Business? But it is just so hard to think of not having a team or soccer around 24/7 anymore.
I understand at some point I will have to let go of soccer. The US Department of Education reported only two percent of high school athletes will play in college at any level. I know it is tough to make it to college level, and I think it is even tougher for a goalie, since teams usually only have two to four goalies per team.
I have played soccer since I was six years old. That is eleven years of playing now, and it will be twelve once I graduate. I know tons of other kids are in the same boat as me, that have played their own respective sport since before they can remember and are now suddenly at the point where this may be the last year they play.
I would like nothing more than to just be able to play for a college and have the time to focus on my studies, but is it actually possible for the major I am passionate about? All these questions just come rushing forward as I approach college applications, my last club and high school soccer season and the final decision I will have to make soon.
I know that I will always have soccer and no matter if I am playing for the varsity team, club team or intramural, it will still be around while I am in college. This is just a huge decision to make because soccer has been my life it seems like. It is what I have put the most time into and has been my passion since the beginning, so it is hard for me to not try to play in college when I have put so much time into it leading up to college. Now I just have to make the choice on where I want to go and if soccer fits into my life at that school
By Jay Williams
I have been playing football my whole life and it literally is my life. Football has taught me so much. There is not one thing in the world that I would choose over the game of football. I have a hard decision to make before I go to college. I don’t know if I want to go play ball in college or just live the life of a college student.
I was five years old when I was eligible to play sports. I tried playing baseball, soccer and even gave karate a shot, but none of them worked. I told my mom when I younger that I wanted to play a sport that involved more activity and contact. We had to wear flags my first two year of playing football because no contact was allowed.
I played for the East Chatham Chargers, the best organization for young boys to start their football careers. I stayed with ECC even though I wanted to hit people. By the time I was seven, we were allowed to get pads to start tackling. Then and there, even though I was young, my life changed. Some people wonder what kind of person I am for actually wanting to hit the guy in front of me.
My whole life I have been underestimated because of my height. I was always shorter than everybody else, and that is still the case. Now though, I have strength over everyone I line up with and I know that for a fact. I work harder than most people because the required height for a division one defensive tackler is 6’4”, I can’t afford to be weaker.
Growing up playing the sport, I played fullback and blocked for our All-State running back Kadarus Rone. I also played defensive end, but my main responsibility was playing offense. We never won any championships but we did win a lot of games.
After leaving ECC, several years later I entered high school and that was when things got realistic, and the speed of the game increased. I played full back, which was a position that blocked for the running back and I didn’t play another position. I made varsity and started the first two games of the season, but I was soon demoted to junior varsity. I used that as ambition and played hard for the team. We ended up being the first JV team to win a conference championship. I was pulled up for the playoffs and played a fair amount, but we were knocked out of the third round.
Sophomore and junior year excelled my potential and I was named All Conference and All County. I am now in my senior year of high school and I can say that I have seen it all on and off the field.
I struggle daily with the decision to either play college football or not. I love the game because it changed my life and made me who I am. It has taught me discipline, respect and how to figure out who my true friends are. I feel like my time is up with this sport, because I have given my whole life to football and I feel like I need to move ahead, it’s time to make a life outside the sport of football. The one thing that is holding me back, is the fact that I will be letting people down that expect me to play college football. I have a big decision to make at the end of the season. May God be with me.