Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

By Robin Sowers, Founder & CEO

My spunky, bow-wearing #7 as an 8 year old learning to play from her Daddy who coached her '05 team

As my husband and I hustled out the door with our youngest daughter to head to one of her many soccer games, I could see the dejected look in our middle daughter’s eyes. The heaviness of her downhearted mood weighed on my heart. She wanted it to be her. She wanted to be back on the field with her team. Sweating it out in the Texas heat, battling for a win, and having us cheer her on from the sidelines.

However, she was done. No more soccer practices, travel tournaments, muddy cleats, or memories to make on and off the field with a coach and team we all loved. She decided to break-up with soccer at the age of 14, due to two concussions severe enough to take her away from the sport she loved with her huge heart. It was heartbreaking for her. And us. It was the right thing to do, and sometimes the right thing is hard. Really hard.

Physically, emotionally, mentally… she wasn’t herself. She said she didn’t feel like herself. Her schedule freed up and she didn’t know what to do with her time, or how to work-out or what made sense.

A sport is more than just something kids do, at least those who truly love it and want to play at a high level on club teams, in high school and even in college. A sport becomes part of your identity. And that’s both good and bad.

However, while our middle daughter may have lost part of her identity momentarily, she is a better person for playing soccer. What she learned on the field through countless hours of training – the confidence, grit, determination, and ability to work through all sorts of challenges is what will help her off the field for the rest of her life. In fact, I would go so far as to say that playing sports and being on a team are a crucial part of a child’s development.

It doesn’t matter if your child’s team walks away with a win, or a loss – watching kids grow and develop as stronger athletes, and more importantly, as people, is worth all the time and money spent. There is a healthy balance though, and we learned through experience that while your sport is a big deal – it doesn’t define you. It’s how you handle losing it, and what you set your sights on next that does.

Some tips on how to survive a break-up:

  1. Listen and let your athlete grieve. It feels like the end of the world, but it will get better. Helping your athlete find new things to bring into their world helps make what used to seem so important, well, not as important anymore.

  2. Introduce them to new sports and activities. It’s never too late! Our daughter spent a long weekend with her grandparents and learned to golf. She’s getting ready to start tennis lessons, and is teaching herself how to code and is even learning Arabic for a potential future career in the FBI or the CIA. She’s made time for new things, actually enjoys jogging now, and does it on her own to stay active.

  3. Acknowledge that breaking up with a sport is a big deal, but again, a sport doesn’t define you. It’s how you handle it, and what you set your sights on next that does.

Welcome to PracticeHero. Let the training continue!

Robin is a proud girl mom to three daughters who play competitive sports. She launched PracticeHero in 2019 to give parents, coaches, and athletes a convenient way to book available practice space online, while helping sports facilities save time, minimize vacancies, and increase revenue by filling their practice space. When she’s not on the sidelines cheering on her girls, you can find Robin cheering on FC Dallas, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Missouri Tigers.