Around this time last year, I made the decision not to play basketball in college. Here’s why...
Ever since I was about three years old, I dreamt of playing basketball in college and even in the WNBA. I was obsessed with basketball and everything that came along with it. I would get up in the mornings at five am to train (yes, five am), then I would go to school, have practice with my team, and then after practice, I would go to shoot or train some more. Basketball was literally my everything. Over the course of my last few years in high school, I started to get burnt out. Basketball, this thing that I had loved so much started to become the thing I dreaded most. I was emotionally and mentally drained from the sport, but I was also physically drained. Playing basketball year-round took a hugeeee toll on my body, as it does to most athletes. Being emotionally, mentally, and physically burnt out was definitely a contributing factor in my decision.
Another contributing factor in my decision was that I wanted to be able to experience all aspects of college and everything that college has to offer! For me this means getting involved in as many clubs as I’d like, having the opportunity to study abroad, and being able to hang out and form meaningful relationships with friends. Playing sports in college takes up a lotttt of time and not playing meant more time to experience college and the things mentioned above. Right now, I’m involved in so many organizations, I plan on studying abroad, and have made amazing friends (and have actually been able to hang out with them lol).
The third reason I decided not to play was because I wanted to prepare myself for a successful future in the best way that I thought was possible. The schools I had offers from were good schools, and I know I would have been in great hands with any of them, many of them just didn’t have my specific major, Nonprofit Management and Leadership. On the other hand, IU had/ has the number one program in the country for my major. For this reason, I thought it would be crazy for me to not even look at IU and all of the opportunities they presented. Another factor that I took into account when I was making my decision was the fact that I would not be able to do a long-term internship or have a consistent job, without it conflicting with basketball. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to focus more on my future endeavors than on a sport I didn’t think would last after college.
The biggest reason I chose not to play basketball was because I wanted to maximize the impact that I could make. I was very involved in Best Buddies throughout middle school and high school and wanted to continue my involvement with them, but I also wanted to make a big impact. I knew that if I played basketball, time would be cut away from Best Buddies. To me, this did not seem right. In seventh grade, I began my involvement with Best Buddies and made it a priority to continue spreading the mission of inclusion and acceptance for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). I also committed to advocate and drive social change for my friends with disabilities. Today, most people with disabilities still don’t have equal opportunities for employment, secondary education, friendship, community engagement, and more. That being said, it was clear to me that I should focus my time on trying to change this instead of playing ball.
Overall, deciding not to play basketball in college was the best decision I have ever made, and I strongly encourage other athletes to look at all of their options before deciding whether or not to play!