Quitting isn’t just for losers


Kaitlyn Mitchell

This track ribbon reflects a choice. Junior Amy Bermingham stopped playing soccer so she could join track. Studies show around 70% of athletes quit by the time they finish high school. You are not alone.

I grew up with a “quitting is for cowards” mindset. Just like Vince Lombardi says, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win,” right? No matter how grueling or painful something is, you always, always, always have to keep going if you want to succeed.

That attitude has brought me results as an athlete, student and person. But at what point is the sacrifice no longer worth it? As a senior, my peers who have been dedicated to sports or other extracurriculars begrudgingly do them just because they’ve been doing it for a long time. Even if they no longer enjoy them or don’t find it to be rewarding any more, they feel obligated.

It’s like being stuck in the mud with your tires slipping and spinning out. More engine power won’t do anything. You have to do something different.

But quitting means changing a part of our lives and our identities, and that makes us uncomfortable.

According to journalist David McRaney, author of the best-selling book “You Are Not So Smart,” “When you are uncertain, you have that immediate emotional reaction that it needs to be resolved now, and you will devolve to the fastest, easiest, least painful solution before you will to the best solution.”

That explains why it’s easier for us to just continue doing what we’re doing, regardless of if it’s making us suffer. It’s scary to make the decision to quit. And in the moment, the least painful solution is to just continue doing what we know.

That’s problematic. If you’re involved in something that doesn’t bring you happiness, think about all the time you could be spending trying something new, or participating in something that will have much more value for you.

We all have a limited amount of time. Especially in high school, we have only four years to explore.

Junior Amy Bermingham took the opportunity to switch from soccer to track, and it paid off for her in the end.

“At first I was so upset because I’d been [playing soccer] for so long,” Bermingham said. “But then once I started running and doing the practices, I was happy I switched… I just had so much more fun doing track than I did doing soccer the year before.”

Obviously, we are also afraid of disappointment from coaches,advisors and parents. And let’s face it— showing you’re “committed”on college applications is also a motivation.

Freshman year, I was faced with the decision to either continue band (with five years of experience) or pursue art (which I’d never done). I didn’t enjoy band, and didn’t see myself doing it in the future. But I didn’t want to look like a quitter. However, overcoming my fear of quitting and choosing art turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Freshman Ella Globerger also had to prioritize her future aspirations to focus solely on theater over softball.

A theater Playbill crowds out soccer ribbons. Freshman Ella Globerger prioritized her future acting aspirations and dropped softball to pick up theater. It is ok to quit. Letting things go can open up new perspectives, and these perspectives make room for opportunities.
(Kaitlyn Mitchell)

“I had to really think about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to learn more about,” Globerger said. “I really want to be an actress. I’m older so I feel like if I were to learn more about it, it can just benefit me in so many different ways.”

Quitting isn’t an end-all-be-all. Most times, it’s not a binary, 100 percent, this-or-that situation.

It may be time to quit when you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” and the answer is rooted in fear. When your goals and love no longer align with the activity, know that quitting is an option.

It should be noted that dedication and perseverance are vital qual-ities that strengthen us when we feel like quitting during difficult moments. Some of the most character-building moments I’ve had were in times when I wanted to give up, but didn’t.

However, the main reason I’ve succeeded when I have is because I loved what I was doing. And behind every win I’ve experienced, I had to quit something to get there.

So seniors, it’s our senior year. Let’s just do what we love. For juniors and below, be brave. Drop something to try something new.

Because quitting isn’t just for losers. Quitters sometimes win, and winners sometimes quit. And you can quote me on that.