With all the Little League, pee-wee soccer, Pop Warner football, and youth fencing tournaments around the country, most people probably played some kind of sport in their youth.
As you moved up to high school sports, things got a little crazier, but it was all worth it for the friendship and the opportunity to stick it to those dumb kids in the town next to yours.
But then people left high school for college, and left high school sports along with it, leaving you to figure out what to fill that void with.
Some go Greek to enjoy that same sense of hardship and camaraderie, but pay for it with money instead of time and effort. Others discover the ease of having a gym within walking distance and believe that gaining copious amounts of muscle mass above the waistline can be equated with athleticism.
But some (like me) persevered, put in the extra effort, and continued in their chosen sports through college. But as your four (or five) years come to a close, you must once again move on and find a different passion to pursue.
To help you out in this endeavor, I have come up with a guide so you may make an informed decision, then ignore it and do what feels right.
- Join a real life cult: You’ve been enjoying the cult-lite experience for four to eight years as a member of a sports team, so why not step it up a notch? I hear Scientology is pretty nice this time of year. It may not be the easiest thing to get into, but pretty soon you’ll be living, eating, and enjoying all your major life events almost exclusively with your cult friends, and everything will feel like it is back to normal.
- Become a coach: Relive the college experience many times over as you guide younger athletes through the same experiences you had. Push them to work as hard as you did to achieve more than you could. But don’t worry, you’re still better than they are, you just have to take an insane amount of Advil before you compete again.
- Phys Ed. teacher: As the great Jack Black once said, “For those who can’t do, teach. For those who can’t teach, teach gym.” Keep your badminton skills sharp and your workout clothes fresh—you’re going back to school and those kids are going to learn the fundamentals of basketball, damn it. Make sure you pass along all your weightlifting horror stories from college and tell everyone about how you used to be athletic until you had seven back procedures and four knee surgeries. Or maybe that was just the gym teachers where I’m from, I’m sure you’ll be better.
- Literally go to Greece: You think you know enough Greek from all three of the frat parties you got to go to, and travelling only meant that you were competing outside New York State. Plus, what better way to get some sun on your body as it slowly leaves the peak shape you were in during your college years?
- Enjoy life: Cake? Sure. Hit the gym after work? Only if you really feel like it. Leave all that old stress behind you and rejoin the ranks of the real world, you’ll slowly acclimate until one day no one will even suspect you were once a college athlete. You’ve earned it. You deserve a smoke break.