Where are my retired athletes at? I’m in a really cool new group for retired collegiate gymnasts, and I loved the questions asked for introductions. Curious what a lot of other prior athletes have to say.
What are the biggest takeaways or things your sport taught you?
What is something you have struggled with post sports life?
So many amazing qualities people attribute to athletics and their time spent in a competitive sport. That didn’t surprise me. What I was shocked with was how many athletes struggled with things like body image, finding workouts that worked and they enjoyed, missing the team and constant support, finding identity apart from being an athlete, finding something that ignites passion in life like our sport did, feeling the drive and purpose that was felt as an athlete, and so much more. Oh, and did we mention old injuries and body aches?
My entire life I was a gymnast. I think that’s what people knew me as when I was in school and college. Through college I was at practice 20-24 hours a week. It was the one place I felt confident. It was my identity. My best friends in elementary school were my teammates, in highschool, again my teammates… in college, my teammates. As an athlete, you are always working on improving yourself, pushing yourself to your limits, and have people cheering and supporting you, like minded individuals doing the same thing right alongside you.
Then you retire. All of a sudden you aren’t working out 24 hours a week. You don’t see those teammates every day. You get a job (where as your sport used to be your job). Maybe you are doing a job where you just do… and aren’t necessarily working to grow or improve. I think that’s what I missed the most. That excitement and dream of the constant growth to be a little bit better every day. The place where I pushed myself and had people pushing next to me every single day.
I’ve found that again. I get to workout as my job, just like I did those 16 years as a gymnast. I get to work on mindset growth and physical growth every day. I am surrounded virtually every single day by teammates that are doing the same thing.
Where are my retired athletes? Did you feel those things when you left your sport?