I recently graduated Luther College. It is a small liberal arts school in Decorah, Iowa. I was a student there for four years along with being in varsity athletics in both the fall and spring for four years. I have my diploma in hand and I am ready to take on the world but what is missing from my other hand is a racket, a ball, or a baton. Every year, there are many athletes that graduate college and are excited to take their degree into the workplace. However, they are left pondering if they have graduated athletics as well.
Being part of a team was a great experience and that aspect isn’t truly lost. I work as part of a team at isplack and everyone has their various skills and roles. Those roles complement each other and we work as a cohesive unit just as my football team did on Saturday mornings. Athletics did so much for me. It’s how I made friends, it is how I spent my weekends. I learned so much from being in sports. There are many transferable skills from athletics to the professional world. I’m even lucky enough to still be focused on the sports world. I want this in my life still. The question still remains for myself and many others like me, where do I go with athletics now?
Many people transition from being an athlete to being a fan. I’m definitely going to return to Luther for homecoming and cheer on my team with my blue and white face paint. Even though this will be fun, this isn’t enough. Being an athlete was a lifestyle of health and fitness, not simply watching on the sidelines. I still want to stay in shape so I am lifting just as I did the previous summers doing the same old routine. However, this time I currently have no goal nor do I have an activity that can capitalize on my strengths. I competed in football and track & field and that took all of my time. What am I supposed to do wait until my college has their alumni meet once a year? That’s too long of a time, even though I’m really looking forward to it. I need to find a competitive and active outlet.
I don’t see myself going pro anytime soon so perhaps it is time to branch out. There aren’t really football clubs, so that’s out. I like lifting, so CrossFit is always an option. Running is always fun and there are interesting variants of races like Tough Mudder or Spartan Races. Hmm, I’ve always wanted to try American Ninja Warrior too...
What I am trying to say is there are still many options for the athletes inside of us. As they say, “when one door closes, another opens.” Now that I have free time, I can try new things. I loved my college sports but my life as an athlete is just constantly evolving I guess.
I don’t think you ever graduate athletics. You can always express your love for your team off the field with isplack. If you still want to be a competitor like myself, I can see there are still options.
Competing is a part of my life, it’s what I’ve always done. The transition can be a little difficult but we are athletes, we are tough and we will find our way. As my football coach always told me when we were confronted with a problem, “You’re gonna have to figure it out!” I’m not entirely sure what this means still but I know I will find a way to scratch that competitive itch.
Cooper Nelson, isplack Evangelist