It’s a Friday night and the sun has already hidden itself behind the cheering crowd. Sweat runs down your tired face as bright lights illuminate the field, your version of a stage that you’ve been performing on since you were a freshman, maybe even longer. Every last ounce of energy that’s left inside of you has been used up, making it so that your team is ahead of the opposing team. Finally, the buzzer goes off for the last time or the last out is made.
Your team has won the last game of your senior year and you hear nothing but cheering and yelling and maybe even crying coming from teammates, coaches and family you’ve been with for years. After a little bit, your stage is empty and the lights switch off, everything’s quiet. For some, the sport doesn’t end with this last game. They’ve already signed to future colleges and are getting ready for the next season in college. Yet for others, that last game, that last win, is truly the end of their ongoing performance.
“It’s bittersweet, I’m scared of not playing in an organized sport but at the same time, I’m excited for the free time that I’ll have,” said Loy Norrix senior Jake Link.
Since 3rd grade, Link has loved and given everything he could in order to play basketball. Link has been a part of the Loy Norrix Men’s Basketball program since his freshman year. While he’s sad to no longer play the organized sport he’s put so much time and effort in, he sees it sort of as a refresher.
Marjorie Wolfe, also a senior at Loy Norrix, has been playing soccer for 15 years since she was three. Wolfe has been a part of the Loy Norrix Women’s Soccer program since she was a freshman. While she was on the junior varsity team her freshman year, she proved her skills and began playing for the varsity team her sophomore year.
In high school, there are about 102 thousand student athletes that play soccer their senior year. Only about 5.5 percent of these students go on to play National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) level in college. The percentage of these high school students that will continue on to pro is only 0.07 percent.
When seniors start looking at colleges, there’s a lot that goes into the choice making. With student athletes, they have to also factor in whether or not they want to continue on with their sport. This variable has a huge impact on what college they choose to go to.
“When looking for where I wanted to go, soccer wasn’t my priority, academics were,” said Wolfe.
Wolfe made her decision to go to K College in the fall to focus on schooling and to get the education she wants to achieve. Like Link, she believes that with the decreased pressure of playing an organized sport, she will be able to focus on her education and herself.
While there are summer leagues and intramural -recreational sports organized within an institution- teams that play for fun, it won’t be the same. It won’t be the constant, non-stop type of lifestyle that most student athletes are used to. It’s a change of pace that many are either very scared or very excited to transition into. The consistency of playing a sport they love and have loved for years and years will end when the season and final year at Loy Norrix comes to an end.
Just this year, nineteen Loy Norrix student athletes have already signed to colleges to continue their performance. But for some, the final curtain has fallen on their stage and they must step onto another stage to begin another progressing, successful future.
“It’s going to be really sad not playing soccer in college, that hasn’t really hit me yet […] I can always play intramural, but it will definitely be a lifestyle change,” said Wolfe.