Senior year is a year of many lasts—from attending the last friday night lights to your last homecoming. However, any student who plays a sport in high school experiences a little of a tougher “last.” These students face the heartbreak of playing their last high school game. For those athletes that decide to not to play in college, those final games could be their last time playing the sport they love.
The decision to be a collegiate athlete is not one to take lightly. After 14 years of playing soccer, Jackson Siegel (SR) was one of many who faced this decision head on going into his senior year. However on Nov. 6, Siegel decided playing collegiate soccer was not the college experience for him. “I was considering it for a while, but I’ve heard countless stories and know a few people who say college athletics are just too much,” mentioned Jackson, “I love the sport of soccer, and I don’t want college to ruin my passion for it.” A factor that can sway an athlete’s decision is whether their friends who are athletes are taking the athletic route into college. Jackson mentioned that if one of his friends were playing in college that he would consider going with them.
A major reason as to why making these decisions is so difficult is because people have a fear of having regrets. Siegel adds, “I’ll most likely regret my decision at first, but then I’ll realize I made the right decision.” Jackson plans on attending UGA next fall. He says he will still be able to play soccer whenever he wants to. Even though Jackson says it will feel terrible to no longer be playing on a school team, he says, “I know I’ll still be playing intramural at UGA along with adult leagues after graduation, but it won’t ever be the same.”
Although the transition may be hard, many athletes continue to workout as if they were still training to build their game when they move on to college. Like Jackson, many high school athletes are leaving behind the sport they love to go on and do other things with their life. As these athletes approach their last games, they feel less pressure because they don’t have to worry about getting injured or impressing any coaches. They can just go out and play the game like it’s their last.