Aren’t you afraid of getting burned out? Don’t you get tired? Don’t you just get sick of it? These are questions that people have been asking athletes since the day they started competing. The responses are different for everyone, of course. For me, the answers are simple.
I’ve been playing soccer since I could remember. Granted, it wasn’t all competitive! Maybe it would be the memory of my older brother and me waiting for our parents to run errands so we could rearrange the furniture in the living room. This is where we would setup a classic game of wall-ball against the couch. Maybe the time of my teammates and I practicing our diving headers into the pool during one of our weekly pasta parties would pop into my head. Whether the games were cutthroat or a fun way to pass time, they made me into the player that I am today and this is how I would respond to those three questions above.
I have never been afraid of being burned out and frankly, never will be. The phrase reminds me of a light bulb in a flashlight that gets dimmer and dimmer as the hours pass until eventually the light has gone out. In relating this definition back to athletes, the flashlight would be the game and the light bulb the player’s passion. Passion is what fuels hard work. Without hard work a player fades from the line of greatness. Sure you can be good, but does good win national championships or World Cups?
At the end of the day, not only does hard work produce talented players but it produces fatigued teenagers who love to sleep. Everyone gets tired, people! If you are consistently energized at the end of the day, you can fit another activity into your schedule. After waking up some days at 5 a.m. to get a run in before heading to Milford High School in efforts to get a parking spot, it is a long day of learning. As soon as the final bell rings at 2:12 p.m., I’m often found running down West Street to get to Chewy (my ‘93 Ford Explorer, named after the Star Wars character because of his battle cries when I start the engine). I get changed and make it to training on time with my good friend Mo Kita. After a hard session and a bite to eat, I’m off to club practice with F.C. Stars of Massachusetts. With my drive home and hours of homework ahead of me, there is no question that I sleep well at night. Even though I love staying up all of those lovely hours of the early morning (sarcasm), I take a day or two off when the fatigue would start to affect my game. Knowing when to take a day off is crucial for a player’s health as you probably already know. On other days I’m a lazy teenager. At the most, my exercise for my day off would be playing a game of keep away with my eighteen pound pug named Gomez in the front yard or racing one of my friends to the front seat in efforts to get “shotgun” for the day.
Just because a player is tired, does not mean that she is sick of the game. Soccer has been there for me when others have not. The field is still my home, even though I tear it up on rainy days. The ball lets me take my anger out on it without fighting back. And the net is still accepting when I go games without getting in touch. Soccer, my friends, is my one true love.
Please stay tuned to new blog entries in the coming weeks as I prepare for a new challenge and adventure playing for the U.S. in the U-17 CONCACAF Women’s Championship from Guatemala, and the beginning of a new stage of my career playing for the New England Mutiny of the WPSL Elite league.
Morgan Andrews is a junior midfielder at Milford High School in New Hampshire. She also plays for F.C. Stars of Massachusetts. This summer she will play for the New England Mutiny of the WPSL Elite League and will be a part of the the U.S. U-17 team that will attempt to qualify for the U-17 World Cup later this year. Andrews will document her experiences for The Equalizer.