(This is the post I mentioned writing. It’s going to sound like around confused rambling, but given it is dead week and my schedule is going to be insane tonight, I figure I might as well post it.)

Before college, I was an athlete. It was who I was, and ingrained in every part of my being. Being an athlete defined me, and led me to my passion in science. I loved my sport, I loved the team, loved the practicing, loved the workouts, and loved how fit I was.


I spent hours every day on my sport. It really was my life-I even wrote my college essay on softball. I discovered my passion for nutrition though my sport, which led to my passion for biology and physiology.

I played my last summer of softball the summer before I went to college, and trained incredibly hard to prepare myself to walk on to the rowing team when I started college.

For the first half of my freshman year, I was still an athlete.


When I was trying to make the decision whether or not to continue rowing, a huge part of the decision was that it meant giving up my identity as an athlete, an identity that I had had my entire life.

And then suddenly, I wasn’t an athlete anymore.

To be honest, this is still difficult for me to write about, and I’m having trouble finding the words. When I quit rowing, I feel like I lost a large part of myself. I can’t tell you how many dreams I’ve had since then where I’ve somehow found myself back on the rowing team-but in reality this could never happen, and I know I wouldn’t have had the time to row with my intense sophomore year.

But this feeling of no longer being an athlete is still raw, especially when I go back and look at old pictures.


(Valentine’s Day beach workout 2 years ago.)

I feel like being an athlete made me a better student and a more on top of it person. Having such a regimented schedule forces that.

I miss having teammates. I miss my athlete’s body. I miss the feeling after a successful weekend of sport.

I do honestly wish I still had a sport-I think it would be really good for me.

However-I need to get over thinking of myself as a non-athlete. I AM still an athlete-I race, I lift heavy things, it’s just different. I honestly think my passion for fitness and nutrition has waned a bit in the past couple of years that I am no longer an ‘athlete’ in the technical sense of the word.

I don’t exactly know where I want to go with this post-I didn’t realize how much of an identity crisis I still feel when I think about this, but I think losing that “athlete” identity is something a lot of people go through at one point or another. While I have allowed myself to grow a lot as a person and add to my identity (crazy cat lady is one thing added), I can’t help but think something is still missing!


How did you cope with being a “non-athlete”?

6 comments on “My Life as a Non-Athlete

  1. Ashley @MilesonOats

    Isn’t reflection the best? I look back on my years of being a cheerleader in high school and college and feel like I didn’t even live that life. Strange right? I mentally feel like an athlete because of how hard I train in the gym and running, but without the title. It’s all about perspective, but I know what you mean about not having the official title or routine. Memories can beautiful and sad all at the same time. Great post lovely. Miss our chats.

    1. astottler Post author

      I miss them too! And you are definitely right-when I was first considering stopping rowing, one of the biggest things that prevented me from leaving the team was the fact that I’d lose that “athlete” status. Then, I realized that was definitely not enough of a reason to commit myself to something so fully.

  2. Matt

    I was an athlete in high school too! I run lots of races, so I still consider myself in the game 🙂

    1. astottler Post author

      You definitely are!

  3. Rina

    You are still considered an athlete by pretty much any standard. You have goals to race and compete, and you train for them. As for dealing with being a non-athlete, being an athlete is more about mindset and behavior, not the fact that you belong to a certain team or row for a certain sport. Like I said, you have the mindset and training regimen of an athlete; hence you are an athlete.

    I understand what you mean about the community of a team. It’s not the same practicing a sport on your own. Have you thought about looking up groups on Meetup.com? I’ve found quite a few running groups that give me the same camaraderie of a team. Maybe you could find a rowing/running/CrossFitting group too.

    1. astottler Post author

      I agree-I recognize that I am an athlete, but there’ still some sort of mental block I have really connecting that! And I’ll definitely looking into your suggestions!

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