Pressures are the little brother in every adolescent's life. They're there from the moment you wake up, to the last fleeting moments before sleep, and you just have to live with them. High school sports are not exempt from falling under the "pressures" category. By the time one has passed through elementary school, the "it's just a game" mentality has slowly diminished, and that phrase that we have all grown to know and love has been violently compressed into a single, one-syllable word: Win. As a ten-year-old, one never worried about being kicked off a team, but at this age, it is virtually all that inspires the common athlete.
On the other hand, joy can also be derived from this institution known as sports. As a teen, there seems to be an added air of excitement that must have drifted over the field during the summer between eighth and ninth grade. One of the most prestigious awards that can be given to the average bench-warmer who just had his fifteen minutes of glory is praise, which turns off all fears of failure. That player is suddenly engulfed in a sea of pride, and for that moment, they seem to drift barely above obscurity, no longer fearing the murky depths below. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.