Burn {OUT}

Burn out. What does it mean to you?

Well – as an athlete – burnout has had a very significant place in my life over the years.  Burn out still seems to keep popping his little head up into my life every now and again as well.  I would define it as an over-use of sorts. In my life specifically:

Over playing any specific sport.

Over-exercising.

Over-working.

Over-doing ANYTHING!

When you over-do it in any facet of your life.. well, that facet just stops being fun.  You no longer find enjoyment and bliss in the activities that you were once head over heels in life with.

I have a pretty tight relationship with burn-out; as it (with a combination of other things..) probably altered the path that my life took.  But believe me – I am MORE than happy with the road that I chose to follow – and stand behind every decision that I have made with 100% of myself. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wonder how my life would be now if I had chosen the other path.. only human, right?

So – here is my story.  It revolves around soccer. My life revolved around soccer.. I revolved around soccer.  On any given night of the week.. you could find me at a soccer practice of some sort.

Now – I wasn’t a daily soccer player always. I started playing with I was in Kindergarten…

Where when it would be my turn to be the goalie, my mother would have to stand by the goal and tell me to stop picking flowers when the ball was coming towards me.. (THANKS, MOM!)

I played on my town’s travel team.. I played on the travel team for the town I USED to live in… years after I had moved

And then in 6th grade, I started playing premier and for the CT ODP Team (Olympic Development Program).  Even though I was not so attentive as a goalkeeper when I was 5, I had turned into one with a pretty good reputation. (Well, I think it started out this way because I was the kid that was always out of shape on the team..HELLO, GOALKEEPER.. no running!)

So – from 6th grade -junior year of high school – my weekly schedule would look something like this:

  • Monday: ODP Goalkeeper Training
  • Tuesday: Personal Goalkeeper Training; Premier Practice
  • Wednesday: Premier Practice
  • Thursday: ODP Practice
  • Friday: Premier Club Goalkeeping Practice/Occasional Game
  • Saturday/Sunday: Games; tournaments, often out of state..

Hmm. Thats a lot of soccer!  But I LOVED IT.  I made some awesome friendships, made some really great relationships with a few of my coaches, and loved being out on the field playing.  My premier team won 3 state championships, placed in many tournaments (winning is big for me, I am competitive).  I ate, lived, breathed soccer.

My mother – made all of this possible for me.  She knew it was something that I wanted to do – so she made it happen.  She would drive me to practice after practice. (Um, good thing gas wasn’t over $4 a gallon back then 😉 ).  Weekends.. Mother’s Day.. holidays (yep.. my whole fam flew to a tournament in Florida on Christmas DAY one year).. my mother sacrificed that time to ensure that I was happy… to get me to those practices that I needed to be at. She did it because she loved me.. and she knew how much I loved soccer.

Soccer Tournament fun:

Well, I loved it up until a certain point.  Up until junior year of high school.  The coach of my premier team.. well, he wasn’t a good guy (putting it nicely.. I know we have all had a coach that chose favorites…) and one year he kind of just turned on me.  What a blow to my confidence.  Sure, I could have gone and played for another team in the state, but I felt deflated.  I had spend thousands of hours of my life.. playing soccer. (My parents had spend thousands of dollars… to allow me to play soccer.. WHICH I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR!)

But I had enough. It wasn’t just the actually playing.  It was the traveling.. an hour to and from practice every day. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I remember the day when I think my mom finally figured out that I had enough. There was a tournament coming up.  It was during the summer before my senior year (the summer I had parvo virus!) I told her I didn’t want to go to the tournament.. that I would opt out of going.  This was an odd behavior for me.. because I was always on the ball with all things related to soccer.  She knew something was up.

Finally I broke down in tears.. and told her I just didn’t want to play anymore – not as much as I had been. I was done. I would play my senior high school season – go on my visits to colleges – talk to college coaches.. and see what would happen. But I was done with the premier…

And utlimately, I was done with soccer. Forever.  I dabbled in intermural leagues in college – but even that just wasn’t doing it for me.  I had no fun when I was playing.  I was even approached by the coach at Fairfield – to play sophomore year. The coach – was one of my previous trainers.. one of the GREAT coaches I had met on my journey.  I even told him I would play during the 2nd semester of my freshman year.

I got the training plan. I followed it.  And before pre-season started… I called him.. in tears.. and told him that I couldn’t do it.  That I tried.. that my heart wasn’t in it anymore, and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I came aboard.. without wanting to be there 100%.

Burnout – to this extent.. just doens’t go away. Friends ask me all the time to play in adult leagues.  There isn’t a SINGLE ounce in my body.. that wants to do it.  I couldn’t stay any further away from a soccer field if I wanted to.

Sometimes, I look back and think of all the time, energy, and money that went into soccer during my childhood and adolescents.  Sometimes, I almost breakdown into tears when I think about how much money my parents shoveled out to allow me to play.. go to tournaments.. GEAR.. etc.

Sometimes, I look back and wonder what my life would have been like.. if I had chosen to continue to play. To play in college – to go to one of the colleges that would have offered scholarships…if I hadn’t just up and quit.

I’d never consider myself a quitter – even though I technically quit soccer.  But why would one want to continue to play a sport that they no longer enjoyed?

One that just isn’t fun anymore..?

Why would one continue to play.. if they were burned {out}?

The simple answer – is to stop playing something, doing something, working at a job – if it no longer make you happy.. if it makes you feel burnt out. Don’t do something if you have to work yourself up – just to accompish a single goal.

If getting out of bed.. the first thing you think.. is how you don’t want to go to soccer.. or to your job.

No, FIND SOMETHING ELSE THAT YOU LOVE!  And don’t over do it.  Just enjoy whatever it is you find – in its simplicity.

And embrace the new path that these changes have made for you.  Because odds are.. the new path will lead you to some pretty amazing things.

Like the thing I found with this guy:

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21 responses to “Burn {OUT}

  1. What a beautiful post!!!

  2. Great post! I played softball growing up. I started as soon as I turned 8 (which is how old you had to be to play) and played until my sopmore year of highschool. I played for the city league until high school and it was fun. It was about going out and having fun. Travel ball was to serious for me, but we did have a travel league team. – I played softball my freshman year of highschool and it was awful. It wasn’t fun anymore. The coaches sucked all the fun out of it. I finished out the season and never went back. (I also got in a car accident that didn’t allow me to try out soph. year – it was probably meant to be). When things aren’t fun anymore it’s time to try something else, that’s for sure!

    Great post! i hope you are feeling better.

    • Thanks Jena.. first I am feeling better.. and second.. I hate how some coaches can really ruin a sport for you. I mean.. I know so many people.. who really enjoyed a sport.. andit was a coach who ended up sucking the life out of it for them..
      But you are totally right.. whatever is meant to be.. finds a way of happening..
      But I do hope you weren’t seriously injured in your accident!

  3. awesome post! I know that burnt out feeling. It’s just not the same when you don’t LOVE something anymore.

    “If getting out of bed.. the first thing you think.. is how you don’t want to go to soccer.. or to your job. No, FIND SOMETHING ELSE THAT YOU LOVE! And don’t over do it. Just enjoy whatever it is you find – in its simplicity.” <– LOVE that!!! It's so true! and such a great reminder

    • Thanks, Alexis. I also think it is easier said then done.I think sometimes we get so caught up in life.. in routines, that we don’t take time to analyze whether we are really enjoying something or not!

  4. Wow, this post is a mirror image of my life from 4-19. Soccer was my life too. from school to club to premiere teams as well traveling to tournaments in every state on the east coast and even International tourney’s in Minnesota. I can totally relate to the burn out. My parents invested everything between my brother and I in our soccer careers and then come college time I was just so sick of it I gave up. I ignored the coaches calls from colleges around the country. I said I was going to “Start fresh”. And the funny thing about it all, when I got to college and WASN’T known as an athlete, I don’t think there was a sadder moment in my life. It was so hard to try and fit in when I didn’t have that as part of me. I to this day wonder what it would’ve been like playing at a D1 school or just at all through college. I know I would’ve had a much different experience.

    • I totally wen through that struggle too.. not being the athelete. It was always me. Finding a new niche in college.. when SO many other things are new as well.. is definitely tough.
      Most of my teammates all played D1 – and you know.. when I heard there stories, I never got upset.. or regretful for not playing. Do I wonder what it would have been like? For sure. But, I also don’t think I would have been any happier if I had played.

  5. Great post, Caitlin! I never really got into sports much during high school or college, but I can’t even imagine the pressure that went along with it. I do think that things happen for a reason, and soccer just wasn’t meant to be your life!

  6. I did the same thing with softball. After a nice break, I now play on a semi-competitve adult team and am back in love with it… though I think it may be more for the comraderie I have with my teammates now.

    That is so cool you were on an Olympic training team!

    • Maybe I will want to play soccer..someday.
      But I tend to play in basketball leagues more often. I was kind of forced to pick a sport when I was in middle school.. you know.. the coaches want ALL of you.. no other sports allowed. I tried juggling AAU and premier..but it was too much. So I decided soccer would be my main thing.. and only played HS basketball.

      I do wonder if there would have been a difference if I had chosen basketball.

  7. oh gosh your bangs!!!!! lil cutie! I totally understand what its like to get burnt out on something… I do it with food all the time and I got MAJORLY burnt out on graphic design about 2/3 into completion of my major and just fled like a madwoman for something that interested me more. I don’t regret it one bit but i’ll always wonder!

    • I know of feeling.. on regret.. but lingering feelings of.. “What ifs” … I am glad you made he change though.. sooner rather then later.. being stuck in a career path that wasn’t for you!

  8. great post & i can totally relate! i went from baking full time to going back to school full time so that i could more fully pursue my passion! i’m so glad that you’ve found happiness … and grown out your bangs! 🙂

  9. Love this! I agree, life is too short, you might love something for a little, a long time, or forever, but if you ever feel you don’t, do something else!

    U and your man are so cute!!!

  10. I got totally burned out on softball and soccer and track. Gosh that seems like FOREVER ago. I remember when I finally stopped running track in college and I felt like a weight lifted off of my chest. I think that the last straw was when my running coach told me that I had put on too much weight to compete at the level I did in high school.
    Not a good thing to tell a young female 😦 Amazing how hurtful words can be!

  11. Dark chocolate chips definitely count as post workout fuel 🙂

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