Hailey Nichol | Missing sports as a student athlete

What do sports mean to you?

Sports have been a huge part of my life ever since I was little. Both sides of my family are very passionate about them. I spent lots of my childhood in hockey rinks, curling rinks, baseball diamonds, you name it. Myself, I have been playing a variety of sports ever since I was four. I started off with fastball and continued with that for six years, ringette for three, basketball for six, and curling and volleyball for seven.

Why do you love sports?

Sports are my coping mechanism. They are my way of escape from all the negative things that happen to me: parents aren’t getting along, bad marks on a test, troubles with relationships. Whenever I am on the court, all those worries and doubts I carry are gone. Playing the games I love helps me mentally and physically, which I could not be more pleased with knowing.

What have you been doing to stay busy without sports?

I really haven’t been doing much if I’m being honest. I work out, clean, and do school on repeat. I am constantly stuck at home alone with all my thoughts.

What do you miss most about sports?

I miss being able to go away to tournaments or games and staying late at the school for practices. The weekends we were able to stay in hotels and make the best memories. I miss the feeling of family that I get with my teammates and meeting new people and seeing different teams at tournaments.

What’s the hardest part of not being able to be involved in sports right now for you?

I would say not being able to play the things I am most passionate about and not being able to be with my friends in an environment that isn’t really school related.

How do you feel right now without sports? How is your mental health?

I am sad. I don’t know any other words to use. I feel lost. Being at home 24/7 hurts me mentally. I need sports to feel okay with myself. I need them to regain some of my confidence. I feel like I am nothing without them. I have nothing to look forward to at the end of the day or the end of the week. To me, it seems like I don’t really have a reason to keep pushing myself. And I know, that may sound dramatic, but as of right now that is my mindset. Sure I have graduating and the future to look forward to and work towards, but that’s still quite a ways away.

What has not being able to play or be involved in sports taught you? What are you no longer going to take for granted when you can participate in sports normally again?

It has taught me how much I take the privileges I have for granted. Privileges like playing sports, or even helping coach them for that matter. I now realize how important they are to me and how much they help me get through the tough times I encounter. I took for granted the relationships I formed within the teammates and coaches I play[ed] for.

What would you tell someone else who is struggling with missing sports?

My words of advice would be make sure you find something that you can do at home that takes your mind off of everything. Make sure to try and have the mindset that everything is going to be okay eventually. That is what is hurting me, I don’t believe that. I am trying my hardest to believe it but I just can’t seem to. You need to believe that this will all be over.

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