You can’t really explain to an athlete how they will feel when they become an ex athlete. It is a process that needs to be felt. Sure, we can steer them down the right path when it comes to planning for a new career but how do we explain to them the depth of emotion and loss they will perhaps feel further down the track? The loss of their community and their identity. They just have to wait until they start to experience and then start to cope with the emotions. What we can do is give them a warning that they might experience a wholly different set of emotions when and after they retire and then be there for them when they start to roll. This is what Crossing the Line is all about. Providing athlete experience as a comfort blanket for those in the acute stages of transition.
Everyone has their own particular journey however we can get inspiration and comfort from hearing similar stories to our own.
Good or bad – every athlete must experience the transition from being a sports person to being whoever it is they want to be in the future. Being a retiree as a young person is a very unique concept. With the majority of their lives left to live, a significant chapter of their lives comes to a close and it can be a very challenging experience.
Much of the media surrounding athlete transition centers on the stars of sport – the successful players, Olympians etc. However the transition is equally deep if not more profound for those who held a sporting dream, strived to get it and didn’t make it for one reason or another – injury, de-selection, burn out or life circumstances that overwhelmed their ambitions.
Sporting stars who have “made it” and achieved their dreams are also faced with the emptiness that retirement can bring.
In this way we are all similar as we make our way forward as human beings and the new tag of “ex athletes”.