I started packing up my house today. My new reality now that volleyball season has concluded: I am graduating and moving in less than two weeks. As long as we were still playing, that’s what I was thinking about. Now that our season has come to an abrupt end, it’s time to think about the rest of my life.
I was so, so sad that we lost. We were so close, and we let it slip away. Those are the worst kind of losses, much worse than when you lose by a lot. When there is a fine line between the sweet taste of victory and the bitter taste of defeat, the sour taste of losing becomes much more potent and just seems to linger in your mouth. In fact, it is four days later, and I still have a bad taste in my mouth.
It’s certainly not the first time I have lost a game. I have played sports for a long time, and I have lost one or two games in my life (ok, maybe more than one or two!). But when you have to suddenly confront the reality that your career is over, it is very painful. I didn’t think I would cry, but I definitely did.
Have you ever been so upset about something that it hurt your stomach? Well, after that game I was actually nauseous. I didn’t want to lose, and the shock of really, really never playing college volleyball again hit me pretty hard. It has consumed my life for the past four years. It was my full time job, and everything else I did revolved around it. Yesterday at around 3 o’clock, I wasn’t in the gym practicing like I had been every other day for the past couple of years. Instead, I was browsing the merchandise at Target, trying to brainstorm Christmas gifts. It was weird for me.
When you play a collegiate sport, your life always has a certain urgency. Balancing school and sports and travel and everything else, you learn that there isn’t time to take three hour naps or just relax. Ever since, I have had a hard time relaxing. On those rare days when I do have time to take a nap or go get a cup of coffee, I cannot relax. I feel like I am forgetting to do something. ‘Was I supposed to host a recruit today?’ ‘Wasn’t there a pep rally or team dinner?’ ‘Did we have weights?’ All of these frantic questions run through my mind, and even though I eventually realize that I really, truly had some free time, I could never enjoy it.
Ever since our season-ending (and career-ending, for some of us) loss, I have had trouble adjusting to my new, volleyball-less life. I know I’ll get used to it, but when something has been such a big part of your life, it takes time to get acclimated your new life.
Luckily, I have plenty of things to keep me busy right now. I am writing papers and studying for finals. I’m packing up my house while
simultaneously keeping it clean for my realtor, in case someone wants to come take a tour. I am hunting for a job and figuring out the lease of my new apartment. I’m making the rounds, trying to say goodbye to all the people who have meant so much for me the past few years. It’s a crazy emotional time, to say the least.
I am officially signing off on this column. Hopefully one of my teammates will take over, but that has yet to be determined. I know the team will continue to have great success, and Las Cruces will continue to be supportive. I’ll be back to visit and cheer on my girls, but I will miss it terribly, especially the fans who made us feel so special. It is with a heavy heart that I write this for the last time: Go Aggies!