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Ashleigh Gunning Blog: Answering the ‘why?’

Ashleigh Gunning
Ashleigh Gunning

Ashleigh Gunning knows life as a women's soccer player is not about the glamour. Why does she do it? Check out her answers below.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But, I can’t accept not trying.”

Going off of my last blog and inspired by some of the incredible feedback I’ve gotten I want to dig a little deeper into why anyone chooses to put themselves through the rigors of highly competitive athletics. I’m not talking about the EPL, NFL, NBA kind of competitive athletics that also come with paychecks with more 0’s than I’ve seen in my life combined.

I’m talking about the kind of athletics where you’re basically an athletic trainer by the end of the season because you have to tape your own ankle or the kind where you’ve seen every episode of Glee three times and you’re a professional catch phrase player because you spend so much time on a bus—yeah I’m talking about that kind.

It may be amateur, semi-professional, collegiate, or even professional but there’s something that ties all of us together. I realize that a lot of male athletes are in similar situations but I want to talk to my sisters out there who might be struggling with the hardest question: WHY?

WHY would you go through so much physical pain?

WHY would you put so much heart, effort, sweat, and tears into it?

WHY is it worth it?

WHY in the world are you going into debt while playing this game?

WHY don’t you just get a real job?

I think you get the point… there are a lot of questions, and really good questions. But, I think they can all be answered with the same theory. I would like to reference (and wish happy birthday to) #23, MJ – Michael Jordan – for a little help answering this one:

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But, I can’t accept not trying.”

As a female athlete your failures are often noticed more than your accomplishments and your sacrifices may be more memorable than your victories but you don’t do it for the victories.

Sure they are awesome!! I mean winning is important, and anyone who tells you it isn’t, is missing something in their head and heart. It’s about trying and fighting and pushing yourself to be better. Better than whom, you ask? Better than YOU. Better than you were yesterday. Better than you were last year. Definitely better than you were the last time you doubted yourself.

You can’t judge yourself based on your performance against your opponents in a 22 game season because then you’d only have 22 opportunities to get better. It’s got to be a daily fight and accomplishment. It should also be a daily opportunity to be happy with yourself because you are reaching your goals and progressing towards the future you’ve always wanted, a future where you are happy and doing what you love, and of course you’re given the opportunity to impact others along the way! You’re achieving this by TRYING.

TRYING to overcome yourself mentally, day in and day out in training, is the real reason that athletes are…athletes!

So, I want to encourage each and every one of you to keep getting better, keep learning the little lessons because they add up to the big important stuff. And keep trying; don’t give up now!!

Special thanks to S. Rodriguez for help with this one.


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