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Why Sports Are Hard for Us Military Brats and What to Do about It

Sports are hard, especially for us military kids -- not in the sense that they're more physically taxing for us, but because we don't stay in one place long enough to really bond with our teammates and grow as athletes.

You know that feeling you get when you join a new team and most of them already go to school together? Or when you ask about carpooling and you tell them you live in "Fort Bragg" or "Fort Hood" or pretty much anything that starts with "fort" and they have no idea what that is? Or maybe when you realize that in a couple of years, you're going to have to start all over again. That feeling kinda sucks.

But I'm not writing this to tell you what you already know. Here are some things that can help with that feeling:

Don't spend too much time thinking about it.

During the volleyball season, I sometimes catch myself wallowing in self pity. Sure, wallowing is necessary -- we all need a good pout session once in a while. Every time I think about leaving [insert new state here] and having to start completely over, I feel helpless. But you can't allow yourself to spiral into that kind of mindset; it never leads anywhere productive. Don't spend too much time worrying about what you can't control, because it's pointless. Just enjoy the moments you're living now.

Sports are fun!

It can be really easy to forget that, actually. It's important to take a step back once in a while and just enjoy playing. It's not always about your next PCS or whatever homework assignment you have due the next day. Try to remember why you started playing in the first place.

Building on that...

If you love what you do (or, in this case, the sport you play), it makes transitions easier the next time you move. If you move from California to Wisconsin, for example, there aren't a ton of similarities between them, right? But if you already play a sport, you have an automatic friend group waiting for you at your new school. You get the chance to skip all the awkward "we have nothing in common" mishaps and go straight to the "we both play this sport, that's pretty cool" friendship initiations.

Focus on the present (But also the future...)

Sounds kind of confusing, right? I've found that it's helpful to focus on both the present and the future. People are always telling me to focus on the present and to not worry about what hasn't happened yet, which I can understand: you don't want to build up unrealistic expectations in your head. But it's nice to think a few years into the future when you've hopefully stopped moving around and you can finally pursue an enduring activity or lifestyle. So try to find a balance of both-- focus on the "right now" but also recognize that sometime in the future, things will be different. Good and novel different and not necessarily bad and unfamiliar different.


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