By Michelle King

I’m sitting in a big black chair and I’m crying. These are not some sad-love-story-tears, or even bad-news-tears; these tears stem from ten years of nostalgia and one year’s worth of uncertainty.
My mom sits across from me and keeps repeating the same thing, “Well, I wouldn’t do it if I were you.”
    The topic at hand, giving up the sport I have played for more than half of my life: soccer.
    The decision wasn’t one that had been thought up over night. While some may think it’s no big deal, let me state that it wasn’t a torrential downpour of waterworks spouting out of my eyes, just the soft fall of a tear every few minutes. And it is a huge deal to me. Not only have I dedicated three days a week to practice every year since fourth grade, but I’ve also endured countless tournaments in extreme weather, traveled throughout California, and bonded with an amazing group of girls.
    The problem with playing now was that I lost the feeling of fun and excitement for the game. Recently, I dreaded the arrival of game days, forced myself to go to practice, and not being able to think of good reasons to stay with the routine. After club soccer, the next move is college soccer.
    I feel so strongly that soccer is something I should stop, yet, I’m conflicted; how can I just stop doing what I’ve been doing for the past ten years? How can it end so suddenly?
    Just as my mom keeps saying those words to me, I think to myself, “Once a quitter, always a quitter.” When I first came to her to talk about how I felt about the situation I was calm and factual about all the reasons to stop, but within minutes and out of nowhere I could feel my eyes start to burn and my nose begin to prickle as tears lined my bottom eye lids.
    As much as I need to end my career, I feel ashamed and forlorn to leave my team. This group of girls who I consider to be practically sisters is not something that is easy to leave. If I am honest with myself, they are the reason I’ve remained with the sport for so long.
    My decision is still pending. My feelings are just as muddled and confused as ever. Coaches and parents tell you how amazing the bond of a team is and how great it feels to be a part of something that accomplishes so much with hard work, and they are completely right. But no one ever tells the player how hard it is to leave all those accomplishments and friendships.
    No, my life will not be altered forever because I did or did not finish out the season with my soccer team, but this decision is the first of many I’ll have to make throughout the course of my life.
Changes are inevitable and I’m about to make one that will shake up my world for a while. Part of growing up is making sacrifices and accepting the consequences of our actions. I consider this decision as the welcome mat to my sometimes cruel but mostly wonderful grown-up world.