Athletes vs. Their Identity

What happens when six college athletes transform into Non-Athletic Regular People (NARP)? Can they navigate campus as "normal" college students? Or will they get lost in an unfamiliar world? Let's find out...

Pinterest
























Imagine having the same job for 15 years. A job that requires long hours, extensive sacrifices, and constantly pushes you to exhaustion. But, you love it, and can't imagine your life without it. You're so passionate that it becomes a big part of who you are. In fact, it's your identity.


Now guess what? You're fired...

These feelings you are processing are exactly what it felt like when I, and other college athletes, discovered that our season was cancelled. We lost our jobs. No 6 am lifts. No practices or championships. No more Saturday nights spent on cramped greyhound busses, with stale bagel in hand. The impact of this massive layoff stems deeper than disrupting the structure of our day. It affects our identity. For the past 15 years, my life revolved around my sport. Therefore, naturally, it has become a defining characteristic of who I am. I am an athlete. Or a least I was an athlete.


When Corona came along, I was forced to lose a piece of who I was. I became something I once feared; a NARP (Non-Athletic Regular Person).

In this new NARP world, myself and other athletes are experiencing what it's like to be a regular college kid. For the first time, we have zero responsibilities. We can do what we want, when we want. Most importantly, we can openly pursue what we want. Not only can this new sense of freedom fix our fractured identities, but it can also build them back even stronger.


Below, six new NARPs share their ups and downs of their new identity as a regular college student.

Julian Pedrouzo

21 y/o, Sacred Heart University Baseball.


Pre NARP NARP









I can finally be like any other 21-year-old who just wants to have fun.

What has kept you motivated during this NARPness?


J: Staying mentally motivated was the most difficult part. Being trapped in my house made every day a struggle. Luckily, I managed to stay focused, cut the excuses, and keep moving forward.


As a NARP, what are some pros and cons of the spare time you have?


J: Pro- I get to do whatever I want. I've been focusing on my baseball career, my degree, and also my social life. Some of these things were forgotten during my life as a student-athlete.

J: Con- I have more time to do whatever I want. Sometimes I focus too much on the social aspect of my life and it pulls me away from my responsibilities.


What is your favorite part about being a NARP?


J: It takes some weight off my shoulders. I have the freedom to choose between a professional life, or social life. As an athlete, I constantly lived with the obligation to leave a lot of stuff behind. Now, I can finally be like any other 21-year-old who just wants to have fun.


Brigit Kelly

21 y/o, Sacred Heart University Women’s Track and Field/XC.


Pre NARP NARP









Competing was the biggest thing I looked forward to and made me genuinely happy.

As a NARP, what are some pros and cons of the spare time you have?


B: Pro- Having more time to complete workouts since we aren't rushing off to classes. It’s also nice to have weekends free to do homework and go out to eat.

B: Con- Procrastinating. I feel like I am lazy and not doing anything.


How has your mental health been impacted by the loss of your sport?


B: Very negatively. Competing was the biggest thing I looked forward to and made me genuinely happy. It would get me through the weeks. Having my last year as an athlete taken away is so upsetting, and I feel unfulfilled. Our team had a lot of unfinished business. Now we don’t get the chance to prove ourselves.


What is your favorite part about being a NARP?


B: Sleeping in.


Zach Banks

21 y/o, University of New Hampshire Football.


Pre NARP NARP











Time is precious, so I gotta put it to good use.

What has kept you motivated during this NARPness?


Z: The lack of organization and rigid structure has been a difficult adjustment. Since our season is canceled, workouts come down to a want to do it, not a need anymore. I'm definitely still adjusting to the new normal.


What are some pros and cons of the spare time you have now?


Z: Pro-The free time has been a wake-up call for me. I’ve been educating myself and those around me about social injustices, especially the Black Lives Matter movement. Now that I don’t eat, sleep, and breathe football, I have time to have difficult but necessary conversations with friends and teammates. I’ve realized that time is precious, so I've gotta put it to good use.

Z: Cons- I'm so used to a crazy schedule that it feels uncomfortable to be doing nothing. It’s overwhelming how underwhelming this time is. The disappointment of not having a season has been tough, especially because I was so excited to get back onto the field.


Shyanne Fennell

21 y/o, Sacred Heart University Softball.


Pre NARP NARP











I realized I have no control over the situation, so all I can do is hope for the best.

How has your mental health been impacted by the loss of your sport?


S: I found myself unmotivated and full of anxiety. However, I started to think of all the good times I had with my team and it drove me to start thinking more positively about the situation. I realized I have no control over the situation, so all I can do is hope for the best.


What is your favorite part about being a NARP?


S: I enjoy the amount of "me" time. I get to really sit down and think about my future after school. Most importantly, now I can relax with my housemates and really get to bond with them more! (love you Loftus).


Nick Palluzzi

21 y/o, Sacred Heart University Men’s Volleyball.

Pre NARP NARP









Although I’m a NARP I’m still a part of a big team; the community...Everyone in the community is my teammate and I am here to support them through thick and thin.

What are some pros and cons of the spare time you have now?


N: Pro- I've been exploring the miscellaneous parts of my life. As an athlete, my busy schedule made it hard to dedicate time to what I actually wanted to do. Now I can focus on my interests like school, work, friends, family, and self-reflection.

N: Con- I feel like I've lost a piece of my identity. For my entire life, I've always been an athlete which naturally comes with a sense of belonging. As a NARP, I'm struggling to find out who I am off the court.


What is your favorite part about being a NARP?


N: The crack in my "athlete identity" helps me realize the importance of community and concern for our future. Although I’m a “NARP” I’m still a part of a big team; the community. Especially during these times, everyone in the community is my teammate and I am here to support them through thick and thin.


Taylor Ladue

21 y/o, Stonehill College Field Hockey.


Pre NARP NARP









My new NARP world is full of unknowns and uncertainties.

How has your mental health been impacted by the loss of your sport?


T: I feel uncomfortable and anxious. As an athlete, I was accustomed to structure and predictability in my life. However, my new NARP world is full of unknowns and uncertainties. These new feelings are tough to process, but I'm slowly adjusting. On a positive note, I've utilized this time to prioritize my mental health.


What is your favorite part about being a NARP?


T: Having more hours in my day has helped me discover new interests and hobbies. Despite losing my field hockey season, I've adopted a positive mentality. I can confidently say I've been making the best of this crazy time and have improved various aspects of my life!

I'm not going to lie, this new NARP world is a little intimidating. It lacks the comfort, structure, and predictability that once cushioned my life as a college athlete. Although my NARP days are full of unknowns and uncertainties, I can finally experience freedom. For the first time I can explore who I am and what I want to become. Who knew the secret to enlightenment is hidden within the life of a regular college kid.

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Facebook

#foryoungpeople

let us slide into your dm's