I can’t count the amount of times I have missed something because of a sporting event. Even when I was little I remember missing friends’ birthday parties because I had a soccer game. You think I would be used to it by now, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop being frustrated for missing something fun for a sport.
Now by no means am I saying sports aren’t fun, but there are other activities that I wish I could also be attending. Any athlete, I would think, has felt a similar way and can understand this.
Sometimes, the fact that you don’t really have a choice to miss a game can ease the pain of being left out a little. If the decision is not yours, then there is less guilt involved.
But what if you did have a choice? What if you only went to the games you felt like going to? If you had something else to do, you could just say, “Nah, I’m not feeling it this week. I’ll just skip the game.” That is a lot of power that most athletes don’t have. If you are playing a varsity sport, you are committed—missed opportunities or not. Like I said earlier, you have no choice. Is that better? Is it better to sign your free time and weekends away when you join a sport? Only you can answer that, but as a girl who plays a club sport where people don’t have to come to games, I think maybe it is better.
In club sports, everything is optional. If you don’t want to come to practice, you don’t have to. You won’t get punished for it by sitting out a game, because we need the numbers at games. We can’t get better, because we don’t have the numbers at practices. We have a harder time winning games because of the lack of practice and playing fewer people in matches so we don’t have as many as the other team during games. All of this is because it is strictly voluntary.
Don’t get me wrong; I love playing club lacrosse. It is nice knowing that if I need to miss one practice, I will not be punished for it. Club allows us to get really involved in other activities but still compete in a sport we love. Club sports have redeeming qualities, but they also have negatives.
Club sports let people be less accountable to their team. As a member of a team, you have a duty to perform your very best at every game for the good of yourself and your team. But when faced with the idea that they don’t have to live up to that duty but rather just “should”, you’d be suprised by the number of people who just don’t care. All of this goes back to the fact that they aren’t required to do it.
Now, there are girls out there who are dedicated to their club sports and never miss a game. They represent what other teammates should strive for. They feel a duty to their teammates to do the right thing even if they’re not forced to.
In my opinion, once you are a part of a team, regardless of the level of competition, you have a responsiblity to that sport and to others. Not being required to play is not an excuse to not play. Once you’re on a team, you’re in it to win it (excuse the cliche). Being an athlete means that you do give up the other activities. You miss things, and that seriously sucks sometimes, but it is because you love your sport and your teammates that you get over it. Missing an activity is a whole lot worse than knowing you let yourself and your team down.