By: Caleb Jonkman
I’m standing in the balcony of DeVos gymnasium looking down on the Trinity Christian College basketball floor. As I take in the surroundings around me I begin thinking about how I finally became a Troll. Looking back on biddy ball, grade school, AAU & high school; considering all the work that went into this whole process. Practices, conditioning, weight lifting, long bus rides, and working with my teammates. What a journey and yet in this moment of reflection I knew that all those times good times were behind me. I would never be able to go back and live those moments again! While these thoughts continued to invade my mind three years ago, it wasn’t until later on that I was able to think, was that healthy? Was it healthy to have that level of obsession about my future, and sports stake in it.
The answer is no, and for the majority of young athletes they go through the same.
I developed a love for sports at a very young age. Both of my parents loved sports and that love just seemed to rub off on me. Playing in athletics came natural to me and I was hooked for life. My dad was my biddy ball and grade school hoops coach. It was truly a blessing to have him coaching me. He played a huge part teaching me and pushing me to improve myself on and off the court. I would soak up all of his knowledge from his lessons and apply them to my game. He played a big part of transforming me into the player I am today. I did have other people later in life step in, help me me excel and bring me to another level.
When I was old enough to start playing competitive games I tried to play every chance I got. Basketball at the time was not as a big deal to me as it is now. As I became older more sports worked their way into my life. Baseball, soccer, golf, and volleyball to name a few. The sports themselves were never a real issue in my life. The problem was that sports were taking over my life and not leaving me anytime for my friends that weren’t on any of my teams.
Sports has a way of enveloping your life. Taking something that seems to be a good and healthy practice, and distorting it to become something detrimental to young kids. If sports isn’t taught to be an asset to life and not life itself it can have grave effects on you when arriving at a higher level.
When I got to high school this became true again. I was playing sports year round but know my schedule grew even more intense. The demands on my time doubled and the time I had to focus on me was gone. Athletics had become me. And it wasn’t until I was outside of that arena for the summer I realized it was by my own doing. I needed to refocus my energy on what was really important and that was making time for friends and family.
Overall sports can be a great learning and teaching tool. It has the ability to build confidence, unite people, and instill great concepts and beliefs. Misused and over treated, and it can become a source of pain if not prioritized right