This biweekly column features life lessons and fresh perspectives on local sports from The Sports Report’s Calli Newberry.
I was doing dishes after having written the story about Ava Pergitone, a senior from St. Clair who, after nearly giving up, pressed on in her running career to become the second-fastest girl in school history.
And like I often do while washing dishes, I started thinking. This time, I thought about what Ava had said to me earlier in the week, “Honestly, it was really relieving that after four years I’ve spent running, I can do hard things.”
One thing I didn’t include in the story was that her sophomore year time of 19 minutes, 36 seconds was fast enough to put her on the top-10 record board, but a teammate beat her out later that year. After that, she said her new goal had been to get back on that board.
I’m so glad she didn’t give up and she was able to accomplish that goal. But what if she had only thought about that goal in light of that season? Or even just her junior season?
It took her nearly 30 races over the course of three years to get back there.
When I graduated college, for the first time ever, my life wasn’t laid out in terms of seasons or years. I didn’t have four years of high school or four years of college ahead of me. I didn’t have three distinct sports seasons. It was just grown-up life.
Sure there are milestones up ahead, but nothing is really laid out in detailed structure. It’s honestly a little unsettling. I kind of miss knowing what's next and what each season will look like.
I feel like my brain has a bit of rewiring to do. I was so used to setting goals for each season that now when I set goals for my own life, I get disappointed when they’re not achieved in a four-month span or by the end of the year. I need to remember that life is bigger and longer than the typical academic calendar.
As I make plans and set goals for 2023, I’m going to remember that there’s more than just one season in a career. As a high school athlete, there are four seasons in a career, and if that career continues into college, there’s another four. That’s eight years of showing up and doing the little things in hopes of achieving new goals.
Ava said it best, “Just keep pushing through the hard days…Keep your goals in mind always and keep working hard, even when it feels like you should give up and it’s not worth it. It will be worth it in the end.”
If you're feeling discouraged by unmet goals for this year or overwhelmed by lofty goals still ahead, just remember, there's still time. Your career isn't over yet.
For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli
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