Division done


Lilly Maney

As athletics seasons end, so does the sports careers of many high school athletes.

That’s it.

No more 8 a.m. summer workouts. No more Hudl film sessions. No more religiously checking STLToday stats. No more practices. No more broken fingers or trips to the trainer. No more out-of-town tournaments. No more paying to play. No more game days. No more stepping out on the court in your jersey. No Division I. No Division II. No Division III. Just Division–done.

According to the NCAA, of the 8 million students participating in high school athletics, only 495,000 of them will compete at the college level. This means that only a little over 6% of athletes across the U.S. will continue playing their sport out of high school. I, like many others, am a part of the other group: high school sport dropouts.

As an underclassman, you don’t understand the significance of the last game until you are the senior sitting in the cheap plastic chairs of a quiet locker room choking back tears and struggling to take your shoes off knowing it will be the last time you will ever wear them. Am I being dramatic? Probably. But this comes from a senior still in their tear stained jersey five hours fresh off a district game loss. Bear with me.

No one knows what it is going to feel like until the ball drops and that last whistle blows. You see the end coming, and I don’t know if it makes it better or worse. Your team is down, and with each second the gap widens and your heart drops a little bit more. The whistle is confirmation and your auditory snap back to reality that this is the end of an era of your life. Of course I knew it was going to be sad, but this felt like the worst breakup ever. Now, you can try what I did and drown your sadness at a Mexican restaurant with some chips and queso, but even that didn’t work for me. You’re going to be sad for a while, it’s just how it is.

The problem is that’s it. Shake the hands of the other team, have a post game talk, walk out of the gym and look at yourself – you are no longer an athlete. For most athletes, sports aren’t just something you do, they’re something you are. It’s an identity crisis. That badge you have worn for most of your life: gone. Doesn’t matter if you’re the MVP or starting left bench, everyone is the same now. Just a normal student, no athlete tagged along with it. 

Playing a sport has been one of the hardest things for me to say goodbye to. I’m going to try to give some advice to the younger people who don’t quite understand it yet. Everyone says it, but it truly goes by too fast. Embrace every second of it. I regret the times I have complained about going to practice or a game, when all I wish now is that I could do it one last time. Love the people, love the sport and love what you do. Build relationships and don’t get stuck on playing time or the wins and losses. Those small things won’t matter when it’s all over. And lastly, play every game like it is your last, because at one point it will be.

Signing off,


Kinley Bokermann