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...

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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