Q: I play volleyball for a nationally ranked club on a travel team, but I got injured and have had to take the last 3 months off. That’s given me some time to think about whether I really want to play in college. I don’t know if I want it to take over my entire life and have no time at all for anything else! I have missed it a lot since I have been out, but sometimes I feel like I’m just playing for my parents, but yet I still love it! What’s your opinion? Should I play volleyball in college or not?

adropI’m sorry that you got hurt! But I can also see how God is using your time away from the game to help you evaluate stuff. Sometimes I think we just get into this sports groove, where we train and play and travel and train some more and don’t really have any quiet moments to ask ourselves some important questions. Questions like:

Am I playing for the right reasons?
Am I still having fun?
Is my sport crowding out my relationships (with God, friends, parents)?

I think it’s so healthy to ask yourself those questions while you’re forced to sit on the sidelines for a bit and heal.

Do I think you should play in college? I don’t think I can answer that for you. It totally comes down to you and God and your love for the game. I played competitive volleyball from 6th grade all the way through my freshman year of college. There were times when I asked myself the questions above, and it was clear that I still loved the game, was keeping it in balance with the rest of my life, and wanted to keep playing! But when I asked myself those questions after my freshman year of college, the answer had changed. So I stopped playing, and that was the right decision for me at that time in my life. I have no regrets–either for playing in college, or for not playing in college.

I have to add, though, that competitive sports have changed a lot in the new millennium. It used to be that you could just play volleyball in volleyball season and then have a break, or play a different sport. Now there’s a huge pressure to play year-round. To live and breath and sleep and eat one sport. I don’t think that’s particularly healthy or sustainable for the long-term. And I think that’s why more and more girls are getting hurt and burning out from sports–because coaches are making it into a job instead of a fun hobby.

So I guess I’d say to just keep asking yourself those three questions. If you find–at any point in your sports career–that you’re not playing for right reasons, having fun, or keeping your relationships a priority, then I say take a break! Life’s too short to make sports your #1 focus, you know? The Apostle Paul said it well:

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8

Love,

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