To quit, or not to quit?


Srinidhi Seshadri, Web Editor

Why was I hesitant to rejoin the badminton team for my fourth and final season? I had made the effort to get my physical done ahead of time. I had spent an afternoon taking the baseline concussion test. I had been cleared by the trainer to play a spring sport. Deciding whether or not to go back to the team should have been a no-brainer, but the various disadvantages to playing a sport during the second semester of my senior year plagued my mind.

At the end of last year’s season, I had no doubt that I would be returning to the team the following year. The season during my junior year was probably the most successful, both personally and with the team. I had a season brimming with no personal losses, and JV had won the league championship. I had planned to spend the summer training and preparing for a season on varsity that would be comparably successful. However, soon after college application season began, I realized I did not have the time to train like I had wanted. In addition to my own lack of training that would hold me down as a player on varsity badminton, several Central Coast Section (CCS) winning players had graduated, creating concern that the team would not fare as well as it had during the previous season.

The large time commitment required to play the sport was another large factor that made the decision harder to make. Varsity practices would start later in the evening rather than immediately after school as JV practices did, a change in my schedule that I was not used to. Not only would I be wasting time traveling from school to home and back, but my physical exhaustion later in the evening would also prevent me from using practice time efficiently. Additionally, as a second semester senior without the burden of college applications, I wanted to maximize the amount of time I spent with my friends outside of school; however, playing a sport would require me to give up a large portion of this time for practices and matches.

My lack of experience playing at a higher level, since I played on JV all three years prior to senior year, paired with the extensive time commitment of playing an afterschool sport, prompted my uncertainty about returning to the team. I soon realized, once I spoke to other senior teammates who were in the same boat, that the hesitancy that I felt wasn’t unique to just me. We all wanted our high school badminton careers to end on a high note. Quitting at this point would guarantee that, since our final season on the team, during junior year, would have been extremely successful and memorable.

After multiple days of indecision, I decided that I would go to one of the open gyms that our coach held before the official tryouts. Playing with some of my teammates during the open gym reminded me of why I loved being a part of the team. Time flies when you’re having fun, and this couldn’t be more true when I play badminton with the team that I’ve grown so close to. Game days, which can last up to four hours, don’t feel as long as they are, especially since most of my time is spent playing games and cheering for my teammates.

Over the past few years, I’ve made friendships with people that I otherwise would never have met. I have formed an extended family with my teammates, both younger and older. Not only does rejoining the team allow me to spend more time with some of my closest friends, but it also gives me a space to relieve stress, relax and get back into shape.

From grinding away at practices to exploring other high schools’ campuses during matches, the memories I have shared with my teammates are innumerable. The bond that we’ve built over hours and hours of practices and games together is truly one of a kind. While it may seem silly to some that my decision to come back to the team was largely based on sentimental reasons, it is my teammates who truly make the team so special to me.

Although the season has only recently begun, I am already glad that I decided to return to the team. The relationships I have built with my teammates and the memories created at practices and games greatly outweigh the drawbacks of playing an after-school sport. With the next few months being my last on the badminton team, I look forward to making this my best season yet.