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Losing your fighting spirit MVHS students speak on what it’s like to lose passion for their sport

By Tabitha Mendez and Collin Qian

He entered MVHS with his head held high, thinking about how the next four years of his life were going to be full of sports. He dreamed of playing football, soccer and badminton. He wanted it all.

But his grades started dropping, his body started failing and he realized that the sport he first learned to love from the age of four was drifting away from him.

For sophomore Shreyas Deshpande, it was the culmination of problems that forced him to make the ultimate decision of giving up a sport that he’d dedicated most of his life to — soccer. First, it began with his body. The physical limitations on his body discouraged him from playing, in fear that he wouldn’t be able to perform at his highest level.

Shreyas Deshpande with his old soccer team

“It’s just a given fact I’m weak, I’m skinny, specific pains affected my knees and my legs,” Deshpande said. “With a sport that focuses on your legs, your core and your lower body, I guess that wasn’t meant for me.”

Additionally, Deshpande felt that the time and effort he put into soccer didn’t reflect in his gameplay. Watching himself fall behind in a sport which he once excelled in was discouraging for Deshpande.

“Everybody else stuck with soccer and got better, but I didn’t,” Deshpande said, ”My ambition for soccer just left me.”

Shreyas Deshpande

Ultimately, through injuries and mental turbulence, Deshpande came to the conclusion that soccer wasn’t worth it anymore and he has decided to focus on another sport, football.

“Either I could try more, or I could give up, and I ended up giving up because trying more would’ve taken too much of my time,” Deshpande said.

For some students, deciding to take time off their sport means being able to try and explore new activities. Sophomore Akshat Rohatgi played soccer and practiced karate for 10 years of his life, but he then faced a problem with time management. He started feeling guilty for not fulfilling some of the commitments and promises he made around soccer.

“It came to a point where either I would have to go to every game and every practice, or I could take a break,” Rohatgi said. ”And I tried taking a break for one season.”

Though Rohatgi now feels regret about his decision, he also noted the decision he was forced to make resulted in both positive and negative outcomes.

Akshat Roghati

“If I chose to continue soccer, I would not have gotten the option to explore many extracurriculars as I have right now,” Rohatgi said. ”I felt like I could’ve gotten something from it, but I also would’ve lost on some of the things I currently do.”

For some students, quitting the sport they invested in was just a matter of time. Senior Aravind Meyyappan, who ran both cross country and track, decided not to continue competing through his senior year.

Meyyappan long distance running, following in the footsteps of his sister and parents who all ran cross country. His father even got into running marathons, so for Meyyappan, running seemed like the obvious sport for him.

Over his three years of competing in cross country, Meyyappan, in his eyes, went from “okay” to “great.” Last season, he took home first place in the Central Coast Sections and was a top in the league for the end of the season. Running became his passion, and he even saw a possibility of pursuing a college career.

Over time, Meyyappan started to lose interest in running, until it was gone entirely.

“At a certain point, I don’t know why, maybe because of the people, but it became more of a chore than an activity that I looked forward to,” Meyyappan said. “I stopped looking forward to going [to] practice and the act of running wasn’t fun anymore.”

Photo by Roshan Fernandez

Even though Meyyappan knew he worked hard to get where he was, he could no longer see himself continuing.

“I think it was going to happen eventually – it was just a matter of time,” Meyyappan said. ”Because I didn’t necessarily like the act of running, there were just a lot of people around me who encouraged me.”

Sophomore Manish Malempati, similar to Meyyappan, reached a point where he began to see his sport, swimming, as something forced rather than something he loved to do.

Malempati participated in multiple sports including golf, tennis and swimming. Swimming and tennis became the two sports that he saw himself being able to pursue in the future, until it became more than he could handle.

“The people in swimming were drilling me too hard, and for me in fourth grade it was hard to keep up with,” Malempati said. “I didn’t do much until it started getting competitive, they started drilling me and it became less of something I wanted to do.”

For all four students, quitting the sport they invested so much time in came with emotional challenges, however, for many like Malempati, quitting is what led them to a new sport they now love.

“I don’t regret quitting at all,” Malempati said. “ Because now I play basketball and I love it.”

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