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Student Life as a Retired Athlete

By Bruna Pacheco
On November 9, 2018

Photo by Bruna Pacheco

Many kids begin playing a sport in middle school, others in high school, but just a small number continue playing at college level.

The truth is, it’s really hard to play a sport in college. But congrats to those who do – they’re performing at the next level and are now considered student-athletes. Once you make it to the next level, there are a lot of ups and downs. But the saddest part of all which is the time when it all draws to an end.

Every season an athlete has comes down to one single question: “What now?”

Some start working, while others have the opportunity to go back to school as a graduate student but this time without playing a sport, just as a regular student and as a retired athlete.

For Alex Kincaid, current OU Athletic Administration GA, living on campus as only a student is a new experience. He likes the fact that he has a lot of free time.

“I get to commit more to my GA position. With working in athletics, I feel like I’m on a team just as much as the next individual. It’s nice to say I can be a college student for two more years and don’t have to face the real world just yet,” he says. 

On the other hand, Claudia Moreno, the current OU Marketing GA, found it very difficult to adjust to only the college aspect.

“I still find myself planning accordingly as if I have soccer practice. I’m so sad it’s over because playing sports was my identity,” she says. “I played for 19 years, and for it to all end was a tough thing to get used to.”

Being in college without playing a sport can be harder for some than it is for others, but it definitely has its positive and negative parts. For example:

Positive: No more practices at 6 a.m.

Negative: The lack of anticipation that you’d get every time you wake up on game day.

“For four years in college and many more years before that, there was no better feeling than waking up on game day and playing with some of your best friends out on the diamond,” Kincaid says. “The countless stories that were made and the people I interacted with is something that can’t be replaced.”

Another negative side is when the sport is taken for granted.

“I’d give anything to play again,” Moreno says.

Watching young athletes who don’t appreciate their sport is something that she finds irritating.

Kids, take notes! Do not take your sport for granted because someday it’s going to be over and you’re going to miss it. Retiring as an athlete is a tough, but necessary transition. Don’t look at it as a negative; look at it as an opportunity for new focuses and a new lifestyle.

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