A Love-Hate Relationship
I’m going through a mini-crisis at the moment deliberating whether to pack in the sport I have played for the past 5 years, which is called korfball. Losing love for a sport is nothing new to me. On average, my enthusiasm dwindles about once a season but it’s always come back. I’m wondering if this time it should be different.
Firstly, I would like to acknowledge that korfball was the highlight of my time at university. I have it to thank for meeting at least 50% of my friends, not to mention my girlfriend. I love it and I’ll miss it if I do stop playing for good.
But my relationship with it is complicated. I suspect it’s not so much korfball itself as team sports in general, it just happens to be the only one I play.
Airing My Demons On The Court
If I’m to be uncomfortably honest, more than once I’ve lost my head on the court and basically given up trying. I’ve walked around and played half-heartedly, or I’ve done the opposite and become overly animated.
Usually, though, it’s a sulk.
Others have surely noticed by now and it’s not an attractive quality…
It affects more than my game too.
I’d like to think my occasional attitude problem doesn’t impact the team but it might well have in the past. Beyond that, a bad training session is enough to ruin my evening and send me into a spiralling mood.
It’s pathetic. Stupid. But my korfball complex can be toxic, putting a strain on my relationship too as my girlfriend plays so it comes up in regular discussion.
Why do I sometimes lose my head playing sport?
I’ve thought about this a lot and I have a number of theories:
- I’m physically incapable of playing just for fun
- My ambition eclipses my ability
- I have an inferiority complex towards superiors
These are some painful home truths that I want to expand on in turn.
This first point is something I can easily recognise, but unfortunately, not so easily address. As anyone that knows me could tell you, I’m a hyper-competitive person. I’m also pretty serious and sometimes I struggle to take a joke.
For me, sports are an ideal arena to feed this competitiveness. The winning, the losing, the goal scoring – all these elements sustain me. I wouldn’t even say I especially enjoy korfball for its own sake, it just happens to be my weekly “fix”. It serves a relatively healthy purpose in this respect.
The trouble is, it’s not entirely harmless. My inability to play for fun creates a problem when I’m personally playing badly or our team is simply outplayed by another. I hate under-performing and, second to that, losing.
The other fundamental problem I have is I’m a mediocre player. That would be completely fine if my ambition didn’t eclipse my ability.
For the past 5 years, I have always (broadly speaking) been solid 2nd team territory, never quite good enough for the 1sts. As someone who wants to be the best at everything, I’ve always struggled to accept I’m just not cut out for it.
In other fields, I strive to reverse-engineer my success or just outwork everyone else, but sports introduces a barrier of natural ability that I can’t surmount.
It leaves me frustrated and bitter.
Worse still, I have an inferiority complex towards those that are naturals. The new players that join the club and make the team based on inherent potential.
At the beginning, I think maybe they thought I had potential too, but 5 seasons later, I’ve long peaked. My lack of progress gets me more than anything else.
The number of people – teammates – I have felt awkward around, even hostile towards, based purely on this inferiority complex is embarrassing to admit. When the fog has cleared, I can see this has nothing to do with them whatsoever, and everything to do with my own character defects.
Time To Hang Up My Boots?
Of course, the answer is to get over myself. I doubt anyone has the faintest idea just how deep-rooted my korfball induced mood swings run.
I’m a self-pitying, attention-seeker with a bag full of chips on my shoulder.
I’ve tried to play for fun, I really have. But now I’m thinking it isn’t fair on others to be so up and down towards training and matches.
As much as I love the sport, it has been a huge commitment for the past 5 years. I have given up the majority of my Thursday evenings and, during the season, the best part of my Sundays too, with full commitment.
Recognising the psychological rut I find myself in, I’m wondering if claiming back this time for me will be the best play moving forward.
I know in a way quitting would be averting and not tackling the cause, but a hiatus seems a healthy compromise. Can I bring myself to do it though?