Platt: Because I miss the game

It’s been almost two months since the sports world went dark and I find myself feeling nostalgic. Over the last 20 years and various sports played, I have learned skills, values and made many of my most fond memories on the buses shuttling us to and from games. It was more than just the sport, it was everything that came with it. The people, the fans, and the pride we feel when wearing our colors. 

Growing up I played a variety of sports ranging from individual competition to team-based. In elementary, my parents moved me into soccer, we were so young the games weren’t exciting, but the practices had me hooked. Passing, dribbling the ball, running until I couldn’t run anymore with the bonus factor of getting to hang out with friends outside of our kindergarten classroom walls. I loved the interaction that came with it. I stuck with this game until high school, competing at Ridgeview High School under their phenomenal coaching staff who encouraged not only our individual but our team performance. 

I was the tallest girl in my grade until I hit 7th. Hitting five-foot-two before fifth-grade wearing size nine shoes, it was a wonder that I wasn’t encouraged to play basketball until the summer going into middle school. It was a big change going from soccer, a sport that only allowed contact with my feet, to basketball, a sport that allowed me to use my hands. It was a sport I had to get used to, and also a sport I quickly fell in love with. Soon after the soccer season was over, I was ready to ditch my cleats and throw on sneakers to enjoy time spent indoors. By 8th grade, I was a starting center for my small town recreation league with big dreams to play for the Beavers someday (obviously that never happened but I’m happy how this played out). This was the game that exhilarated me when the crowd cheered my name jogging out onto the court, where I built confidence, pushed my body to its limits, and persevered to do it again the next day. It’s also the game where I play pickup games with my friends on hot summer days. 

I started playing golf late in my high school career. Golf was the sport that I had to continue to have an open mind about. It was my junior year of high school when I decided to switch things up and join the sport I had never played before. I completely underestimated it. It wasn’t physically demanding, in fact, I never broke a sweat, but it was mentally demanding. I learned a lot about mental strength and humility. I didn’t realize how negative I could be to myself when my performance on the course lacked. This was the sport that changed my mental game and also the sport I enjoy the most to this day.

I miss the game, every single one of them. Due the pandemic, we missed out on debatably the best month in the year, we can’t play a pickup game in fear our germs will pass on, we won’t hear the roar of our fans no matter how large or small the stadium is, and the high fives after a good play. Right now, when it seems that without the game, we are missing out on our favorite past times, take a minute to look around, and appreciate the new skills we are learning and the accomplishments and people that are still being celebrated. Express this just as passionately. Sports will come back, but until then, make the most of our time and not let this time go to waste. 

See you soon, 

Claire Platt