How being a student athlete changed my life

By Gabrielle Thompson
September 16, 2018

Are you joining the lacrosse team next month? “Yes,” said a confident 11-year-old me, not even knowing what the sport was. This alone shows how fearless I was even at a young age.

Growing up in the city most kids aren’t exposed to sports other than football, basketball and track so to hear the word lacrosse, it was foreign. Many children tend to breeze their way through elementary school even middle and then high school is usually where problems occur. For me it was about sixth grade where things began to take a turn.

I moved and began going to a school with a majority white population. I was agitated and full of resentment towards my mother. I began to act out at home and school was no longer easy because I dreaded waking up to go there everyday.

March 2011 changed my life I went from being a regular student to becoming a student-athlete. The name in itself has so much sternness in it. You sound important when you tell people you’re a striving student-athlete.

I remember the first time I held a lacrosse stick, it was a weird object and I couldn’t understand how my coach wanted me to actually catch an entire ball with that small pocket. From my first practice to my first goal I grew as a person. I was getting discipline at practice and it was helping me release the anger I held in so therefore I wasn’t as annoyed at home. I’d gone from being an average 11 year old to now a 4- sport athlete. I began playing every sport I could try out for in my age group: lacrosse, field hockey, basketball and even flag football. By high school I was running winter track in place for basketball since I deemed myself to be too aggressive for the sport. I’d noticed that when I played sports I kept my grades up because I needed a certain grade point average to be eligible. This was literally the best thing that could have happened to me.

Imagine me not being a student athlete. The Gabby that everyone has grown to love would not be the same. I’d probably be pregnant and have a felony by now nor would I be enrolled in college with an academic scholarship. By the time I was 14 I literally hated school and my only motivation was wanting to compete. Athletics was my personal therapy. It was my motivation, my everything. Being a student athlete even helped my mother and me remain as close as we are. We were in a dark place at the end of middle school, even when we moved back to our old area , but she made it her business to make sure I was enrolled in a diverse public school that also had other sports beyond the regular three.

All students should find something that motivates them. Even if its not sports just something to keep them going, something to help them release their stress and keep them sane.

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Gabrielle Thompson

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