Quitting your sport

A Division III volleyball coach whose team appeared in the NCAA Final Four this year once told me that you know it’s time to quit coaching when you’re not looking forward to the upcoming season, regardless of how many games you’re likely to win.

I was taken aback. How could a coach look forward to a season if he knew his team was incapable of winning a single game? How miserable!

I knew the answer intellectually but hadn’t yet internalized it: A real coach understands that he does not coach to win–he coaches to help his athletes improve. Improving may or may not result in winning.

I think you ought to play your sport for the same reason: for the love of getting better at playing your sport.

If you’re just looking to win, try finding a more talented team.

If you’re just looking for a starting spot, try finding a less talented team.

If you’re just looking for friends, try finding a sorority.

If you’re just looking for a scholarship. . . well, I’m not sure what to tell you, but it’s unfortunate that you’ve sold your joy.

And don’t ever sell your joy.

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