The life of an athlete at any level involves another level of dedication, discipline, and drive that can be compared to the added level of all of these in a committed relationship. This could be why you might here some people say they are “married” to the game. The game can become your other half, your better half, your soul, and something that you don’t want to part ways with. Sometimes, the love of the game is a love that others don’t understand unless they experience it themselves.
Just as with a relationship, the love of the game is an active love. It needs to be fostered and protected. Sometimes your love for the game will be challenged and it’s up to you to determine if it’s worth fighting for. It might change up its look every once and again and you’ve got to be able to adapt and grow with it. Make sure not to lose yourself in your love of the game that you forget the people who were with you before the game and supported you when the game got rough and the love wasn’t mutual.
On the other hand, just as with people, sometimes you can grow apart from the game and the love isn’t as strong as before. This is understandable. People change. The game changes. Hurt happens. Understand that sometimes love may not be all that’s needed to sustain a healthy relationship. Sometimes, what looks like love is really complacency. If you experience falling out of love for the game, don’t look at it is the end of your life, but more so the end of an experience. There was a lot of good and growth that came from this and it has helped you become the person you are.
Whether you are head over heels in love with the game, or falling out of love with it, just know that love has been an integral part of your athletic experience. Love has made you stay later, show up earlier, and try harder. Love has made you sacrifice for something bigger than yourself and you’re OK with that because you know you’ll be better for it.